Archive for ‘weather’

May 20, 2012

Veggie Patch

It seems every year the vegetable patch changes.  I call it “a patch”, but really it is a set of wood boxes my husband has built to use as raised beds.  The raised beds have been such a life-saver since we don’t have to mess with the hard, clay-ish soil we have here.  From year to year, we may change something about the veggie patch, usually we expand it by adding a new box.  This year, we decided to move all the boxes to a sunnier location since the trees nearby have grown, decreasing the hours of full sunlight the patch gets daily.

Last weekend was supposed to be a wet one, and by all accounts, it looked like my only window of opportunity was going to be Saturday morning; after that, rain was expect through Sunday night.  With my new supply of vegetable and herb plants, I set out early Saturday to get the beds moved, readied and planted before the rain.  Relocating the raised beds was easy with two empty boxes; however, one box still had dirt in it from last year, so I had the long (and boring) task of shoveling and transferring dirt to the two empty boxes.  I used a mixture of bagged garden soil, potting mix and humus to supplement the rest.  Because the sky was overcast and threatened to open up and pour at any moment, I worked straight through the task like a madwoman.  Happy to say, I was able to get the third box moved and in place before it started raining.  I was even able to get two boxes planted with tomatoes, onions and herbs.  I plan to plant beans and peppers later in the third box.  This year, I am trying varieties of tomatoes I’ve never tried before:  Black Krim, Beefmaster, Yellow Pear and Sunsugar cherry.  Also, I planted Rutgers and Supersonic, which I hope will be good varieties for sauce and puree.

I encountered several creatures just moving that one box.  An azure-tailed skink and later a toad surprised me, each gently relocated to another part of the garden.  I had feelings of both delight and dread as I uncovered a nest of sleeping baby bunnies in the area where the box was located originally.  I don’t think there is anything much cuter than the sight of tiny, furry baby bunnies with little ears and feet all nestled together, oblivious to the outside world.  With so many little mouths to feed, it looks like I am going to have to reinforce the plants with some netting and maybe even a fence.

Baby Bunnies…what could be cuter?

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August 28, 2011

August is the Cruelest Month

T. S. Eliot wrote “April is the cruelest month.”  Well, I beg to differ.  In my book, August is the cruelest month.  With the merciless heat and humidity, the prolific weeds seem to be the only things enjoying themselves.  While I do have coreopsis, marigolds, phlox and a lovely crape myrtle to comfort me, I realize my garden is far from being late summer-ready.  Guess that will be my challenge to plan for next year.

This week has been quite a doozy here in Virginia.  A rare earthquake on Tuesday, followed by the news that Hurricane Irene would be a weekend guest, sent most Virginians scrambling to assess damage and to prepare for potentially more. For us, memories of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 will never go completely away.  The wind from that storm brought down twenty trees around our house but mercifully, not on it.  Fortunately, Hurricane Irene proved not to be as ferocious as her older sister, and brought more rain than wind.  Hours of torrential rain can still reap havoc, causing large trees to uproot in sustained high winds, but thankfully, we were spared this time.

This morning, I noticed the garden is bit battered.  The scorched coneflower and black-eyed Susan plants were trampled down by the rain, and the hydrangea looked a little weary. The tomato plants appeared to be in the roughest shape, but I could see no real damage.

I took advantage of the bright, beautiful post-hurricane weather, and started cleaning up the beds in preparation for fall, getting rid of spent flowers and foliage, and making room for my mental planning of next year’s garden. Today was my turn to fight back; the weeds were defenseless against my re-energized, determined hands and the rain-saturated ground that held them no more.

June 3, 2011

Sweet Smell of Summer

We had a few scorchers this week with daytime temperatures getting close to 100.  The early days of June felt more like August.  Everyone knows that hazy, hot and humid are a fact of life around here during the summer, so the longer the warm, pleasant days of spring can be enjoyed, the better.  Um, well…May had other ideas and burned her way out like a furnace, making way for June.  All was not so oppressive though.  After a hot day, the honeysuckle in bloom along the driveway seem twice as fragrant as the day cooled off into evening.  Coming home from work, I was welcomed with the most overwhelming, sweet smell of summer…

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