Prepping for Summer

It was 87 degrees here today, and it’s as dry as the proverbial bone. I can’t recall an April like this one. I’ve never had to irrigate this early before, and this year we’ve been irrigating for a couple of weeks now. There is rain in the forecast for Friday and I’m hoping they’re right, as it’s desperately needed.

I’m trying to get our summer gardens prepped, but nature isn’t making it easy this year. It felt like I was rototilling a concrete parking lot, and whatย little of our rock-like clay that was pulverized by the tiller, lifted with the breeze and sailed off into the woods. So this was not the day for tilling.

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Right now we’re harvesting beautiful asparagusย and we have lettuce, kale, collards and broccoli happily on the way.

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As for our Asian greens and spring root crops, we’ll just think of them as offerings to the cruel god of aridity, if anyone has ever invented such a notion. They’re always better in the fall anyway.

Notwithstanding our current conditions, which will surely pass and soon enough be replaced by some other situation about which I can complain, I’m looking forward to getting the summer gardens going.

We always dedicate a large garden to tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.ย We’ll do that again this year of course (after all, what’s summer without tomatoes, eggplant and peppers?), but we’re scaling back on varieties. This year the only tomatoes we’re going to grow are Romas and German Johnsons, our favorite heirloom. We’re not going to grow any hot peppers and we’ve scaled back the number of bell peppers we’re going to plant. But we aren’t making any eggplant changes–we’ll still grow one Italian and one Asian variety. Just typing this has me hungry for ratatouille.

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Roma plants, awaiting transplanting

Of course we’re also going to grow beans, okra, sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, cantaloupes, watermelons and probably some other things I’m forgetting.

I just hope I don’t have to use a jackhammer to make that happen.

 

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38 comments on “Prepping for Summer

  1. Susan says:

    And this is cutting back??
    I wish I had a tenth of your energy
    Good luck with the rain

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      The main thing I’m cutting back on is worry. ๐Ÿ™‚
      We’re having a nice rain today. Still need a lot more, but happy to finally have the dust settled.

      Like

  2. We are experiencing a heat wave – yesterday it was 87! Just about unheard of up here in the PNW in April. People around here start complaining about the heat when we get close to 70. If this is climate change, then maybe our almond and avocado “experiments” will prove “fruitful”.
    Hope you get some rain soon.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Maybe we’ll be able to grow citrus here. ๐Ÿ™‚
      We’re finally getting a little relief today. The ground is still rock-hard but at least there’s a little moisture in the upper few millimeters. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  3. shoreacres says:

    Ahem. May we send you some of our rain? Up in the northwest suburbs of Houston, the kayaks and airboats were out in force — on the streets. We only got about four inches yesterday, but many locations got 10-18″. “They” say there’s more coming ths week. I’ll put out a “no vacancy” sign, and send it east.

    Our asparagus has ended now, but the dewberries are ripening. Tomatoes are blooming, and we’re on our way to summer bounty. Here’s hoping you get what you need for a little bounty, too.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I thought about you when I saw the headlines about the flooding there. I can remember not so long ago when Texas was in a drought and we were getting too much water. Maybe it all balances out over time.

      I went ahead and planted sweet corn in the dust yesterday, in anticipation of the showers we’ve had today. Makes my mouth water thinking about all the summer goodies. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. avwalters says:

    We’re dry, too. They say it’s part of the ENSO cycle.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      The drip irrigation system we bought last year in order to save our summer plantings is definitely paying for itself. It’s been getting used liberally and the asparagus and spring brassicas seem grateful. Fortunately we have plenty of ground water. For now at least.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dani says:

    We have only had 1.5mm (0,05 inches) of rain this month. We have NEVER had that little rain in a month EVER. Crazy what is going on, and I’m going to be taking steps to counteract that where possible. That will involve a whole new way of gardening, but we’re never too old to learn, are we ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • That would be liking your “new way of gardening” Dani, not the worrisome weather conditions):

      Like

    • Bill says:

      Wow. Sorry you’re still having such brutal weather there.
      We’ve adjusted our planting dates and will just keep reacting as things change. Warmer weather won’t hurt us much (and in some cases will help) as long as we can keep irrigating. Drought is the bigger concern for us in our growing zone.
      I like your attitude. We’ll figure it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  6. Scott says:

    Where they’ve done excavating around the house it is downright dusty. I can’t complain; I haven’t had one weather related delay in my build. I may have done one too many dry-weather dances. Sorry about that, Bill.
    Rain supposed to come overnight here, just in time for my scheduled basement floor pour. What did I just say about weather delays?

    Like

    • Bill says:

      We had a lot of rain when our house was being built and it created major problems. I’d be pleased with the dry weather if I was in your shoes. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Scott says:

        Hey thanks for coming back and replying to all my comments. ๐Ÿ™‚ we have had awesome luck with the weather for my purposes. And with contractors willing to work quickly for me. We’ve made good time for the slow start we had.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Laurie Graves says:

    Hope it rains soon! And not a torrential downpour but rather a nice soaking rain.

    Like

  8. Dry here also, and hot, but what is strange is that we’ve had regular rain, and actually it rained the entire month of March which is normal. What is not normal is the dryness of the soil after so much rain.

    But you’re right, as soon as it cools off we’ll be complaining it’s chilly. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Maybe abnormal is the new normal.
      We’re finally getting a little rain today. I’ve never known April to be this day. Hopefully we’ll get back to “normal” soon.

      Like

  9. We’re dry here too.. it rain a small bit yesterday and is looking like it might today . I certainly hope so. I don’t have much at all in the ground yet as we are a few weeks behind you in weather. SOON โ™ฅ

    Like

    • Bill says:

      We’re getting a little rain today. We aim to start putting in the summer gardens in about a week, so the timing is good. Hoping your planting goes well!

      Like

  10. One thing about wandering the country the way we are, Bill. We get it all… including plenty of rain when we were down in Linda’s territory. (Shoreacres) Fortunately, the only thing I have to plow is my mind. โ€“Curt

    Like

    • Bill says:

      All the things I do literally (such as plowing, sowing, cultivating, shepherding, harvesting, etc.) are things we all ought to try to do figuratively as well. I’m sure your well-plowed mind will continue to produce bountiful harvests.

      Like

  11. Nancy says:

    I know what you mean. My husband tilled a part of the garden to put in early stuff but as you say, it was like a concrete block. So I put the soaker hoses on it for a couple days and he tilled again. Then I planted some vegs. Now today it is raining and we’ve gotten 1 1/2″ . Now we’re happy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I thought about putting out a sprinkler to make the ground a little softer, but decided to wait on the forecast rain instead. Fortunately it showed up today. It’s still too hard to till but if it rains more tonight it might turn out to be just what we needed.

      Like

  12. Can’t say we’re going to do any better this year either; “Winter” was abysmally low on snow. Good luck getting as much of what you need (when you need it) Bill.

    Like

  13. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, we too were unusually dry through March and April. Finally, the last three days the rains came. A nice gentle rain fell Monday with Tuesday to soak in. Then another gentle rain fell all day Wednesday with a three day total of 1.75 inches. Hardly any of the rain ran off and soaked into the soil like a sponge. Since the ground was dry powder, planting was held back until the rain came. Now it’s time to start planting outside. Even with the chance of frost until May 15th, the risk is worth it. I always have backup plants if disaster happens. I only grow 14 tomato plants total but I have 36 plants in the wing just in case replacements are needed. Yeah, a bit of an overkill but some years replacements are needed more than once. I got caught that way once but never again. I’m sending our rain your way. You should be getting it in a couple days.

    Have a great day in the garden.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Dave. A nice little rain showed up today and is helping a lot.
      We don’t usually put out our summer plants until the first week of May. That week is going to be real busy around here. Hoping both of us have a good tomato crops this year!

      Like

  14. Joanna says:

    We are still waiting for the ground to dry out after the winter. It’s not too bad, but we keep getting showers, still no hurry yet, we have another week of April yet. Hard to believe that you are thinking summer and we are still thinking spring.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Y’all are SO much farther north than we are. We’re about ready to start harvesting our spring plantings now. I picked spinach and radishes today, for example.
      Nature compensates you with those really long summer days.

      Like

  15. Dearest Bill,
    Oh my, it is a constant battle against Mother Nature and we often can’t win that… We too have had a rather cool and very windy April; not good for gardening.
    Hope your rain really will come and rescue your garden and the input of so much labor.
    Sending you hugs and just want to mention that I’m making steady progress with my photo scanning; โ…” is DONE.
    Mariette

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Mariette. We have a little rain today and I think our gardens are going to mostly be just fine. Nature behaves differently every year. In the end it’s all beautiful.

      Like

  16. Looking good. I hope you get the rain you need. It’s the best thing on a garden. That and the gardener’s shadow.

    Like

  17. Zambian Lady says:

    I hope you have had rain – it has showered a bit in DC today.

    Like

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