It’s only been a week since my last garden update, and while I normally do them two weeks apart, the last one was late because of our vacation. This week, I don’t think we’ve seen the sun since Monday! There’s a tropical low that didn’t have time to develop (so it never got named) that’s been sitting just off the coast and over Texas just dumping rain on us for days.
So far, luckily, we haven’t had any major flooding that I know of in our area. But our yard is definitely soaked and holding a bit of water in a few spots that it usually does during a heavy rain.
Usually, I take my garden photos on Wednesday evening so I can write the post on Thursday to go live on Friday (now you know my secret!). Wednesday evening was the worst night of storms we’d had during dinner time which is when I like to take the photos because the sun is on the other side of the house. I did step outside to take a few photos to show you how much it was raining. The boys got upset thinking I would get struck by lightning but I opened the door, took some photos from under the porch, and went right back in.
Before we went on vacation, we moved the sweet potato vines from the front porch to the back so they would get some water from the sprinklers and when Justin’s dad came to water he would see them and remember. We left them out there for now, and they are loving all of the water from this rain.
The first day we got rain, we went out and grabbed the cushions from our outdoor furniture and moved them under the porch so they wouldn’t get soaked. Our plan for the fall is to get gutters installed along the back roofline where the pergola meets the house and get a rain barrier that we can put under the canopy on the pergola to prevent the rain from coming through. We are worried that the furniture won’t last long if it’s out in the elements like that without some type of protection.
Overall, the plants are all loving the amount of water we are getting lately. We pulled one tomato off of the boy’s plants that had already split, so we threw it on the ground to provide more nutrients for the plants. Because of that, we’ve started picking the tomatoes just as they start to show a hint of red and let them ripen on the counter. Justin has eaten a few of them and said they are delicious. I haven’t made any recipes with tomatoes recently so he just eats them plain.
This past weekend, Justin and Tyler went out to work in the garden, cleaning up a few things, trimming back a lot of the plants, and checking on the yard in general. While they were out there it started raining on them but since there was no lightning, they kept on gardening. Tyler loved it!
One of the plants we really had to take care of was the mint. It’s still growing abundantly and is giving no sign of slowing down. Some of the plants got so long, they were almost starting to bolt. Justin cut a lot of it back, and after trying some of it said that it was getting bitter. We think it was getting too long, and that’s what caused the change in flavor. I’ll have to let you know in a few weeks once we use more of the mint after letting it grow again.
You can also see that the onions are still growing. Wednesday night, the night that I took those photos of the downpour, I wanted some green onion for our meal, but that didn’t happen. We haven’t tried pulling up any of the onions yet, but just continue to use the stems to have fresh green chives to garnish our meals.
Our pepper plants are starting to show more growth. I forgot how long those take to sprout and grow. The ones we had last year were from the year before, so we didn’t have to wait near as late into the growing season for it to be big enough to produce. The watermelon plants are also starting to creep into the area with the peppers. I also saw our first flower on a watermelon plant already! It’s tiny, but its there.
I mentioned last week, I believe our Asiatic lilies are done for the season. They typically only bloom once and are known to be early bloomers. Even though there aren’t any flowers, their stems and leaves add to the overall green of the backyard still. Our canna lilies have lost a lot of their color, but I have no doubt those will make a comeback. The banana trees also seem to be soaking up all this rain. They are full and have many pups growing now underneath the big trees.
Our blackberry bush has flourished this year and is getting a bit out of control. We need to go out and prune some of it and tie up a few of the runners. They are starting to overflow into the yard again and I noticed a large branch going all the way behind the orange tree and looks like it’s trying to creep into the neighbor’s yard through the corner of the fence! We have more berries growing, but the only one that turned black so far has been eaten on already. We’ve seen the mockingbird diving at the bush a few times. Next year we want to build a cage over it as much as possible to try to keep the birds away.
Last weekend, Justin and Tyler trimmed back a lot of the zucchini and squash plants. Now that I can see the base better, it’s amazing how big the stems are on those plants! They are probably about an inch in diameter and growing in thickly. I didn’t realize they could even get that big. The guys also put some stakes out by our tomato plants since those had all blown over while we were on vacation. They also trimmed those down because some of them were getting to be 3-4 feet tall.
All of the garden is doing well with the rainfall this week, but nothing is loving it more than the sweet potato vines. We have to water those every day or they start to get droopy. The plants were too heavy for the hooks (we bought the hooks for the lanterns, not heavy plants) so I moved those to sit on the bar section of the pergola so the leaves could still hang down. I’ve never seen them looking this full since we brought them home from the garden center!