I know it's been awhile since we talked about the garden, but it turns out once you get plants in the ground there's not a lot of day-to-day ACTION. (Perhaps this is a reason, "The Garden!" is not one of this summer's action-packed blockbusters.) Time to just throw out a big updatey-update.
This is an Apple Mint plant. I bought it at Home Depot and I thought it would be nice to have fresh mint for iced tea, mojitos, and whatever else I came up with. Mint is really hard to kill, it smells nice, and thrives in wet spots. Our hose bib leaks a considerable bit when turned on so I figured it was a GREAT spot for some mint.
Then, some bugs promptly chewed it up. There were hardly any leaves left and while I know mint is a very difficult thing to kill, I was sure the bugs had done it.
There used to be a lot more leaves on this plant. As in, you could tell it was actually a plant.
But! Lo! THE MINT CAME BACK! I was very pleased with myself for continuing to water a dead-looking plant. Surely only a very smart gardener continues to water a dead-looking plant, yes? (Don't answer that.) It was looking very leafy and healthy and I thought, "I should take a picture of it! To show how mint can come back!"
And then, on Monday, Chris was making a loop of the yard with his trimmer and he mistook the mint for a weed. He said, "it suddenly smelled minty and I just KNEW." He knows how important my plants are. He felt pretty badly.
You can't even tell where a mint plant is supposed to be, it's just a jumble of sad plant body parts.
I told him it's okay. Mint is really hard to kill. It'll come back. Mint is the Pheonix of the herb world. (POOR MINTY-MINT.)
IN OTHER NEWS!
I (or other members of my household) have not actually killed anything, which is mighty impressive. I planted cucumber, okra, and scallion seeds and they came out of the ground a few days later with leaves and everything, just like they're supposed to. I don't know, man. There's something downright MAGIC BEANS unbelievable about this whole garden thing.
"You mean I just put these tiny things in the ground and FOOD COMES OUT?"
Yep. Allegedly, that's how this is going to turn out.
Spiders in my garden! I like to envision them eating bad bugs.
I fixed my ugly fence. Chris bought some actual stakes and I ripped out my sad version and re-did it one Saturday morning. I took before and after pictures and....you really can't tell a difference. This is disappointing only because I spent about an hour cutting wire and crawling around it for almost no reward in aesthetic. (On the plus side, it does appear to be keeping the rabbits out, so there's that.)
Before, with tables holding down the edges:
And, after with stout green stakes and excess wire cut off:
I know, it looks pretty much the same. How very disappointing. Perhaps I should have bedazzled it for true results. Because I know you enjoy seeing pictures of my mood after sweaty garden work, here's how I felt after I re-did the fence.
PRETTY DAMN PLEASED WITH MYSELF.
I had a bunch of extra seedlings I was saving for delivery to locals, but one day the wind blew them off the table and because I was just tired of dealing with them and I didn't feel like performing seedling CPR, I threw them away. Next year I am for sure planting fewer seeds or starting a seedling co-op of some kind with local friends.
California Wonder Bell Peppers
These are doing okay. They were planted all on the same day but they are VASTLY different sizes. I have one that is about 2" tall and another that is close to 8". Four of these, in all.
One of the things I like to do is to smell my plants. I know, this sounds weird, but just go with me. The leaves of the cucumber plants SMELL LIKE CUCUMBERS! This sounds very "no shit" but it kind of blew me away when I figured it out. No actual cucumbers yet, but it SMELLS like them! How delightful!
I have a bunch of thin, needle-like, green things that smell like onions. (Oh, come on, you knew I was going to smell these too.)
They're doing well! Getting taller and leafier. I have been pinching off suckers (leaves that grow at the apex of stalk and stems) as I find them, since they won't produce fruit and their leaves will just suck energy away from fruit-producing parts of the plant.
The Whiskey Barrel
Okay, I lied. I think I killed the thyme. BUT. I am still watering it, so maybe it will come back. There is a lone green stem, so I'm hopeful. The basil is getting bigger, so that's good because a key component of caprese salad is basil and the hell if I am going to have to buy any after all this freaking work. (Look how tiny it used to be!) I bought a rosemary plant because I planted rosemary seeds THREE times and they never germinated, so I think I got crap seeds. (Incidentally, these were the only seeds that came from Lowe's. NO JUDGEMENT, LOWE'S.)
Texas has been in a big drought for what seems like forever. The ground here is already cracked from a lack of moisture, and although this looks bad, I have cousins in west Texas with cracks in their yards big enough for cats to sleep in. The DFW area is faring better than the rest of the state, but it still isn't raining very much.
My yard is thirsty.
I have been SUPER paranoid about not watering enough, so every day I hook up the soaker hoses and let them run until I can see water coming out the bottom of the raised bed. I have no idea if this is the right way to do things, but it's what I do. Sometimes, if I feel like it's extra hot? I run out there with a cup or two of water and pour it on the basil and my favorite tomato plants.
This sounds like a giant pain in the ass, right? Hauling the hose to that side of the yard and babysitting it for 20 or 30 minutes? It sort of is. Going to check the tomatoes has actually become one of my favorite parts of the day. It's oddly soothing to go through these small motions over weeks and weeks and hope they add up to creating productive plants. Plus, it's something that I usually do by myself (sometimes, Claire will "help") and I like alone time, even if it's only a half hour in the yard.
I'm pretty curious how this will impact the water bill. Last year when we started watering the lawn, the water bill went THROUGH THE ROOF. So much so, we cut waaaay back on watering the lawn. I'm trying to be thrifty with moisture, but I haven't figured out the sweet spot quite yet.
I need to get some mulch and put it on top of the beds, now that the plants are a little taller. (Manual labor, UGH. I thought I was done with that for the season.) I also need to fertilize the tomatoes as soon as they start to flower and I don't know a lot about that so I'll have to make some garden shop visits.
For anyone that made it this far (I should really go back to weekly updates because this is WAY TOO LONG), here's a picture of our resident bunny. He's one of at least two and these rabbits have NO FEAR. They don't even run off when we go outside.