The weather has been hot, hot without rain. So far we are over seven and a half inches below normal for the year. Three weekends ago, the weather folks predicted two to four inches of rain, only they forgot to inform Mother Nature of it.
The Gulf coast received around 18 inches that weekend and is getting drenched again this week. I’ve been watering from the time I come home from work until dark each day. Cotton loves this weather, but the corn crop is tassling out and needs rain. No rain is predicted for the next week and most of the corn crop will be lost unless irrigation is being used.
Time not watering is spent hauling wood chips from the utility company and mulching. I finally got my heirloom tomatoes out in the garden and gave away the excess. I kept waiting for the ninety degree temps to moderate, but it was past time to have them in the ground as they were over two feet tall. I dug a deep hole, and place water retention crystals derived from a plant source in the bottom of the hole and sprinkled some Epsom salts and fertilizer and back filled to a level an inch below the surrounding soil. I have more of the Cherokee Purple tomatoes this year. They seemed to be a favorite of my give aways. Before mulching I put newspaper down around my plants and mulched heavily. The tomatoes responded by doubling in size and putting out some nice tomatoes. I received similar results after mulching my squash plants. This weekend I plan to finish mulching. And no I didn’t use a string line to mark off my rows. After one day in the lower nineties, temperatures will be back in the hundreds. Some of my re-blooming iris which normally bloom in September to October are blooming early this year. Some of my daylilies are in re-bloom and some of the later bloomers are just starting.
Around here, a successful garden bragging rights is measured by when and how many tomatoes you receive in your first picking. I over wintered two tomato plants in the garage this past winter expecting to have the bragging rights for the first tomato. They had come up in some compost containing potting soil I had made up. After planting them in the garden and they started to set fruit, I realized that they were these rather large tasteless salad tomatoes that were supposed to be Brandywine seeds last year. I pulled the plants up and tossed them into the compost pile.
After our last rain I planted a row of peaches and cream corn. I haven’t run a water line down to my new garden area yet, and the corn was looking bedraggled. I filled the loader on the JD with water, drove down to the garden and pour a good dose down the row.
The Japanese beetles are just about under control. I’ve capture over 15 gallons of the little varmints in my traps. I had to empty the traps daily of the beetles into zip lock bags , sealing and placing in a recycled sink I have in the garden until all of the beetles died. Dying Japanese beetles stink like a dead corpse. Some time during the night, either the hooligans or coyotes pulled the bags out of the sink and ripped the bags to shreds. I had trouble getting to my greenhouse due to the odor. The hooligans rolled in the bugs and besides being very stinky, had dead beetles matted in their hair.
This is the time of year is the beginning of the festivals. Usually we have an unusual heat wave during the festival time. This year is no exception. The Helen Keller Festival was this past weekend and temperatures were in the hundreds all weekend. These young folks who spend too much time playing video games aren’t used to being outside in the heat as a number were hauled off to the hospital. I was a volunteer photographer and spent Friday afternoon and all day Saturday walking around town visiting the car show around the courthouse, the Tuscumbia depot, and down town. Down in Spring Park, vendors were set up and various bands played on stage. Since I was one of the photographers, I got to take pictures behind the scenes before and while the bands were playing. The Alabama Blue Brothers, The Spring and Diamond Rio were some of the bands on stage Saturday evening.