Sunday, August 1, 2010

Autumn is here

It's the beginning of August and although the daytime temperatures are still in the mid- to high- 90's (*F), the nights are dipping into the 50's and low 60's - signifying the beginning of autumn. 

Sunflowers are in full bloom - ones blooming at the beginning of July still holding their petals, but showing signs that the heads are now filling with seed.  4 or 5 buds are still tracking the sun across the sky, but most have now made a commitment to point east in preparation for unfolding their petals.  4 young seedlings, barely 3 inches tall, battle time and the elements - will they bloom before the end of the season?

Collards have germinated in bed number 3.  They are limping along in the heat, but they will grow through light frosts, so hopefully they will begin to flourish as the days cool.

Okra in the ground has been plucked, presumably by the birds.  Three survive in bed number three, however.  They are supposed to only take 60 days or less to harvest.  They are all still small - stunted, I am guessing, by the harsh desert sun and wind.  But if we are lucky, there are still 40 - 60 more frost free days and I may hope to at least see them bloom.

Three delicata squash on the original vine - and the vine is just now starting to take off, with leaf and flower buds soaking up the sun. 

The unknown squash in bed three has female buds that show them to be yellow crook neck.  They haven't been fertilized yet, so I can't say that we will get a harvest - but the ants are working hard, crawling all over them and spreading yellow-orange pollen all around.  Yellow squash planted in the ground barely survives.

I ordered garlic for this fall's planting.  This year's planting includes 2 lbs of German Red and 5 lbs of Siberian - both hard necks that enjoy a cold winter.  I also ordered 1 lb of the softneck, Inchelium Red.  That should yield close to 70 hardnecks and a similar number of softnecks - although the softnecks might not survive if we have as brutal a winter as last year.  Normally I order from The Garlic Store, but they indicate they will not be shipping until October. As it looks like winter will be arriving early this year, I ordered from a place that will ship in mid-August: 2 Sister's Garlic. They did not have the top sized Siberian, but the medium sized will have more cloves per pound, so it may be that my harvest is actually bigger that way.

Speaking of garlic, the composted chicken poo is just about ready to dig into the sand. It will sit a few weeks, and then it should be ready for planting out the garlic. I still haven't decided exactly where to plant, but I better figure it out soon.

Planted out crook neck squash seeds that got rained on - placed them among the corn. One has germinated so far. I also placed some in bed number two, but I haven't seen any there, yet.

Busy week in the garden. Wish I had more time to hang out there. Work and school have taken their toll on my free time.


Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I've noticed its cooling off here too. There's a change in the air in the morning. I hope the heat doesn't spike up again.

KMU said...

It was a lovely week, weather-wise, but it looks like we've a few more days in the 90*F's left yet before the cold of winter settles in.