I could use the excuse that I've been busy, which I have been somewhat, for not getting around to blogging. But really it's more than that. It's the unrelenting heat, temperatures in the triple digits for the last couple of weeks, that has me not even wanting to turn on the computer. Today around 1:30pm my digital thermometer said it was 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I spent the morning volunteering at the farmers' market and felt light-headed by the time I got home. And we've had absolutely no rain this month. Sigh...
And how is the garden taking this heat and drought? Well, some of it is okay, and some is struggling.
Here's what I worry about:
1) The potted plants. Most of them are in unglazed terra cotta pots, which can get pretty hot and thus potentially harm the roots. So I water them every morning. I'm not worried about over watering since I think this heat is sucking the moisture right out.
Can you see the grasshopper to the side of this sun wilted chard? If not, here's a bigger view:
They're called "graveyard grasshoppers" around here and are another thing I'm worried about. Right now they're about 2.5 inches long but they'll get bigger than that. They can defoliate a plant in pretty quick time. Fortunately they also move slowly and are easy to squish (which can be rather gross).
2) I'm worried about some of the plants in the back beds, which are competing with all the tree roots. The plants that are wilting daily are my two hydrangeas, Turk's Cap, and the 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia. I could try watering them every day but then I risk shallow roots and/or root rot. So I check the mulch to make sure it's adequate and water them about 4 times a week. And I've also learned to put up with the wilting (I'm actually not too worried about the Turk's Cap since I know they tend to do this; but they're still less than a year old so still vulnerable).
3) I'm worried about some of the new plants in the raised beds. For example, my Poblano pepper, which struggled somewhat when I first planted it, wilts everyday. I think that means its root system was somewhat compromised from the day I planted it. Given where I got it, that wouldn't surprise me. I'm watering the raised beds about 4 times a week.
What I'm not worried about:
1) My salvias. What tough plants.
2) My herbs. Some of the easiest plants to grow are herbs. Just give them sun and well drained soil. But they won't survive without the occasional watering!
3) My lawn. How could I not worry about my lawn? Well because lawns are highly overrated! Make no mistake, I am watering it. But I'd really rather be watering a flower or ornamental grass than a lawn. Someday I will have less lawn...
The heat and lack of rain have caused the bees to return to my main bird bath. I blogged about that last year but since no one was reading my blogs back then, I never found out why this happens. It's confounding. And somewhat amusing to see the birds snapping their beaks at the bees. At least some of the birds. Other birds seem to be chased away by them. I now have a second bird bath but only the cardinals seem to frequent that one. Maybe more bird baths should be placed around the yard.
Has anyone else had this problem at their bird baths and if so, how did you solve it?