After a week of sunny but chilly weather, and then a weekend of rain, the garden is showing signs of action once again. The mint and watermelon are sprouting (perhaps some summery mojito is in order, some time around June), and elsewhere the soil is looking moist and rich. With the new plants’ arrival come the birds, returning to the yard like it’s a family reunion. A bright and chirpy pair of cardinals has re-emerged, much to the delight of my cat, who watches them get within feet of the screen door with demonstrable intrigue (the poofy tail reveals all). I would like to put up a bat house next, but that project will most likely have to wait until next pay-day.
Well, traveling for two weeks has taken its toll on the garden. It must’ve frozen outside a few times while I was away, because only the lettuce survived. I’ll have to replant in the next few weeks, but in the meantime it’s sad to see my friends had suffered because of my negligence. But I guess the same would’ve happened in the wild, so I can’t be too down about it. Maybe one year I’ll build a greenhouse.
The weather finally turned, and chilly mornings and evenings mean happy lettuce. The one pictured above was planted as a seedling; others planted from seed are peeking out and stretching now that the air is crisp. For my part, it’s nice not to have to water twice a day (or more), and having my morning coffee outside is now a viable option. I’m still putting the spent grounds in the garden (you can see the darker patches near the plant above), and hopefully after a winter of decomposing leaves and coffee, the soil will be softer and more diverse for next Spring.
The little pumpkin plants are growing, but many perils await. I’m trying to cover the vines with dirt and coffee grounds, to protect against vine borers. Hopefully the shade from the wildflowers nearby will keep them safe from the mid-day sun, which is still blazing despite it being a few days until November. Maybe I’ll be able to give people pumpkins as Christmas presents?
Well the aloe is doing well. And so are the mosquitos; I can’t go a single watering without being bitten at least once. I think it may be time to invest in a bat house, since putting on bug spray every day doesn’t sound too appealing (or healthy). So far in my yard I have seen: possums, owls, toads, and house cats, nocturnal-animal-wise; it would be nice to add some bats.
After a solid two or so months of growth, the garden has stalled—which is normal for the Texas Summer; now the game is simply trying to keep everyone alive until the weather turns. Recent storms have ameliorated the struggle, but it’s still going to be a long, hot August. If I can keep half the peppers alive, that will be a triumph. The aloe and other succulents will surely make it.
While the sunflowers have come and gone, and even much of the ground cover is brown, this next month is a good time to invest in building the soil, so I’m adding spent coffee grounds and other organic material, while continuing to water like normal. I will add fish skins, once I finally get around to cooking fish (when it’s this overwhelmingly hot I just feel like eating bread and fruit, mostly).