I know I mentioned it before in previous garden posts, but the summer is just brutal in south Texas. Our temperatures are reaching the upper 90s and the “feels like” is well over 100F most days. We also haven’t had much rain in over a month. Justin and I do our best to keep the garden watered and healthy, but it isn’t easy when we don’t even want to go outside for the ten minutes that takes.
Justin and I noticed this week that even the canna lilies and banana trees are looking droopy and not growing well because of the heat. Last year the cannas were taller than the fence and had flowers on them for most of the year. This summer they have hardly and flowers and aren’t growing as well.
Overall, we don’t have anything dying out in the garden or backyard, but none if it is producing anything, either. The only thing we’ve been able to harvest consistently is the mint and tops of the green onions.
I restarted my herb garden inside last week. After being on vacation for half of the summer, the herbs were all completely dead. I pulled the leftover stalks and roots from the jars and ordered some organic herb starts seeds online. In one week the basil and dill have growth, and this morning Tyler noticed a sprout in the cilantro. So far, nothing from the oregano and parsley, but I’m still hopeful that they will grow. The boys also planted their terariums a couple of weeks ago and are very proud of how well those are growing.
The boy’s tomato plants are doing ok, but they get the most shade throughout the day because the house blocks a lot of the sun from them. A few weeks ago we got a few small grape tomatoes from the plants, but there’s no sign of flowers on them anymore.
The garden beds are starting to get a lot of weeds again, but it’s so hot outside we haven’t been taking care of it very well. Once the weather cools down a bit we will get back out there every weekend and work in the garden more often.
As I said, the mint is growing back in well after Justin trimmed it way back a couple of weeks ago and we have harvested some of that when we needed it. There was some mint in the refrigerator that was starting to go bad, so I have that hanging now to try drying it out and crushing to have crushed mint leaves for recipes.
Among those weeds, there are a few onions still growing out there. We haven’t tried to dig up the onion bulbs yet, but I use the tops of them to garnish our dinner often by using my kitchen shears to cut small slices off.
It took a lot longer than expected, but the pepper plants look like they are finally starting to grow well. By this time last year, we had already harvested a lot of bell peppers, but I’m hoping we have a mild winter and they can continue to grow through the cool months and produce in the spring.
The watermelon plants are vining and reaching out, but aren’t doing much more than that. There are a few flowers and small buds on some of the vines, but that’s as far as they have gone. This is the first time we are trying watermelon, so we’ll just have to see what happens.
Our smaller tropical plants are doing ok because the fence helps block a lot of the sun from them in the mornings. Most of them are still green but aren’t growing as big as last year. I’m sure the multiple freezes this past winter didn’t help.
The banana trees don’t seem very happy, but they are still producing pups which are growing since they are shaded by the taller trees. The canna lilies on the left side of the banana trees are also growing better than those on the right because the banana trees are taller right now.
Surprisingly, one of the plants that looks like it’s handling the heat the best is the blackberry bush. I always thought those were cooler weather plants, but maybe that’s only to produce berries. The bush is getting bigger and some of the stalks are as big around as my fingers. Hopefully, if the plant continues to grow well, we will have a lot of blackberries in the winter.
Our tomato plants are looking about as sad as the ones the boys planted. We do have one small tomato growing that I pulled after taking these photos, but there are no signs of any more growing at the moment.
This should be the last time the sweet potato vines are out in the backyard. We just got some new hanging pots to transplant these and bring them into the house. They are doing better when in the full shade most of the day, so I think they will do even better inside.