Staying Ahead of Summer

Between a significant watering regimen and all the abundant garden produce I have access to now, it’s been busy in garden-land.

With our section of Indiana officially reaching “exceptional drought” conditions two weeks ago, I’ve been spending lots of time watering the vegetables, watering the perennials, watering the little red bud and azaleas out front, watering the side trees and then repeating. Every morning I’ve also sprinkled the containers and other areas that dry out quickly.

It’s working. I’m amazed to look back at my previous post and see how much everything has grown in a relatively short time:

I also got around to finally mulching the perennial bed. It’s never a favorite activity of mine, and John and I have had so much going on on weekends that I haven’t really had a chance to do it before now. It makes everything look so nice and hopefully will help the plants through a couple more hot, dry months. Everything in the garden is a little crispy, but so far it’s surviving.

Here’s the bed if you’re facing the alley:

And the same bed but facing the house (note the stand of elephant ears at the back):

I got the mulching done just in time for a big 2.5″ rainfall last weekend. Look, it’s actual rain on the tomatoes!

Meanwhile there’s been so much good stuff to eat in the garden. My tomatoes are happy and fruiting. There are also the tomatoes in Patchwork’s garden. A couple weeks ago I went there  for beans. Instead of beans, I found a whole bunch of tomatoes sitting there ripe and lonely. I started with one plant, but there were some great ones on the plant next to it… and down the row as well… and before I knew it my bag was more than full.

What do you do with so many tomatoes? Well, I didn’t really find out. They were starting to go bad before I could use them all, so I peeled and seeded them and put them in the freezer.

I was also amazed to find that a cantaloupe had survived to maturity in the Patchwork garden. Usually they get taken too soon or smashed. This one tasted very good.

The farmer’s market is also my weakness. I go thinking I’ll only pick up one wonderful melon like I got last week or a few ears of corn, but it all looks so tasty and fresh. Suddenly I’ve got so much great food that I have to make two trips to my car because I can’t carry it all at once.

Over the last few weeks, all the good produce has gone into corn fritters and tomato gravy, veggie and pasta bakes, salads of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella, peach kuchen, fresh melon, and corn chowder. And there’s so much more I want to make!

When the basil is taller than the garden marker, you know it’s past time to make pesto.

I’ve also been adding a little more garden art. I finished creating a mosaic on the little table that used to sit next to the birdbath. Now it’s next to the spigot with some concrete furniture in which I planted some chicks from the hens and chicks I got earlier this summer.

I also hung a bunch of “tree jewelry” from Patchwork on the side of my shed. It looks better and better the more the cardinal creeper twines around.

Underneath the tree jewelry, the jasmine flowers smell so good.

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