the growing, the wilting, and the ugly

After a whirlwind HOT, sunny, and dry weekend in Cape Cod, I came home to a crying mess of a garden.  Two days in the full sun with no water was just a bit too much to hope for them to handle with grace.  These days, I don’t even pause on my way into the house from wherever I’ve been – I just get out of the car and head straight for the hose.

Bad news first:

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The romaine lettuce has bolted.  Technically, it started to bolt a long time ago, but I’d been keeping it in the shade and trying to use it as fast as I could.  Now I think it’s chop-it-down-and-cut-your-losses time.


 

 

 

 

I have two very small, seemingly identical bowls of basil.  All summer long they’ve refused to be identical though, with the left one always taking huge offense to any negligence, while the right one is amazingly chill. After some water, lefty bounced back in a few hours though.2013-07-08 07.15.42

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The other bunch of basil survived just fine too – probably because it was in a shadier spot. I’ve been using it all summer, and it just gets bushier and bushier each time I cut it. Time to make some pesto!

 

 

 

 

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The tomato plants were all looking a little worse for wear – they were wilting, fighting off aphids, and trying to support their huge mass (some of them are over 8 feet tall!) in pots that are getting way too small.

 

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The experimental cherry-tomatoes-in-a-window-box have not died yet, but they were definitely gasping for air after 2 days.  That tiny amount of soil barely holds any water, and it’s totally exposed to the sun.  I think it dries out about an hour after watering.  The leaves seem to bounce back every time they wilt though, and I ate my first zebra cherry today (though admittedly it was not quite ripe and pretty tough.  It’s hard to tell when to pick when the ripe version is still green and red!)

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Some of the other cherries have started to ripen too – these are the chocolate cherries which are sweet and very fat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also came back to my first tiny tomato harvests – just a handful of chocolate cherries, sun gold cherries, and one jaune flammée. All were super sweet and flavorful, but so far the sun gold takes the sweetness cake.2013-07-08 07.12.48

A plum-sized Purple Cherokee was also ready for harvest…2013-07-08 07.18.52

…but very sadly, had blossom end rot. I’ve noticed a lot of this going on this year – possibly because there are just so many more tomatoes, but I wonder if it’s drought stress.  I’ve tried to be vigilant about keeping a constant water supply, and other than this past weekend I don’t think there’s been too much stress, but I think the pots make it difficult to really keep an even moisture level.2013-07-08 07.19.01

The zucchini plants are also struggling and showing signs of blossom end rot, as well as (I think) powdery mildew.  2013-07-08 07.21.36

But I harvested my first zucchini today too!2013-07-08 07.21.24

I think some of the cucumbers finally got fertilized, since this guy has grown pretty big, but he doesn’t look overly happy, so we’ll see what happens.2013-07-08 07.16.08

And one of the cheater purple bell peppers has started to turn a gorgeous shade of red! I had no idea they were going to do that, so I’m going to leave this one for another day or two and let it sweeten up.  2013-07-08 07.22.34

Meanwhile, the monstrous Pinot Noir Hibiscus is getting close to blooming – I can’t wait! 2013-07-08 07.15.59

this is the garden:colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night’s outer wing
strong silent greens silently lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
This is the garden:pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms,and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

This is the garden.   Time shall surely reap 
and on Death’s blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung;
yet stand They here enraptured,as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.
~e.e. cummings

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2 thoughts on “the growing, the wilting, and the ugly

  1. I think the powdery mildew on your zucchinis might actually be normal. Mine always have white patches like that. The first year I got concerned, but my sister (and avid gardener) told me not to worry about it, that it was just part of their colouring. That year we harvested so much zucchini we are still eating it out of the freezer, so I guess they couldn’t have been THAT sick 🙂

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