Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Greening Moon

I was afraid that this moon name would be out of place for this year, because things weren't looking very green. May is normally supposed to be central Texas's wettest month, with an average of 5 inches of rain, so calling the full moon of May the Greening Moon would be quite appropriate.

This year we've had about 5 inches of rain for the whole year. On average, by now we were supposed to have had 14 inches. Then normally by Midsummer the rain shuts off, and we have a hot, dry summer before cooling fall temperatures finally bring relief. I'm really not looking forward to the summer after skipping the spring rains. In summer our main source of rain is from hurricanes getting into the Gulf of Mexico, which is unreliable.

At least we did have that one rainstorm last week, which greened things up for now. It wasn't enough, but it was something. I can tell my plants appreciated it.

I received some California Wonder bell pepper plants from my CSA farmer since my seed-grown peppers have done so badly. From those I only have one Lemon Drop, one Cayenne, and a few Jalapenos left. I'm just not sure why I'm so bad at growing peppers from seed.
The tomatoes are still doing well. Most of them have green tomatoes growing on them. I'm really looking forward to that first ripe fruit.
The tomatillos are also doing well. No fruits yet, but they're getting pretty big and flowering.
The cucumber plants I had that weren't eaten by deer are coming along slowly. I really hope that the rain made some of the deer's wild foods grow back so they'll quit coming over here to eat my plants.
On the left here are some newly planted Thai basil plants, and on the right are bush beans which have really perked up since the rain.
The pole beans are sending out new growing tips to replace the ones nipped off by deer. I've been putting up more bamboo poles along the fence and have been trying to guide the vines to grow on those rather than the fence itself to make it harder for the deer to reach them.
Some of my garlic varieties are completely dead (like Sonoran), or almost so, but a few are still hanging on and might turn out to be ok. This one is Georgian Fire.
 The Moon and Stars watermelons are looking good. See, they've got cute little stars on the leaves.
My Yellow Crookneck squash is pretty much gone from squash vine borers, but my Tromboncino is starting to vine out. The borers have been attacking them too, and I've been spraying them with neem oil, but they're one of the borer-resistant species of squash. That doesn't mean the borers don't attack them, just that they may survive the assault. Next year I really ought to try row covers, which were recommended to me by several people, including my CSA farmer.
One downside of the rain is that the weeds liked it too. There's a lot of grass coming up in the sweet potato patch.
I've got six okra plants left, and they've got a bit of grass coming up around them too. I'm not sure if I should plant more okra plants or if six is enough. Okra is very prolific, so it's probably ok, except I've never grown this variety (Jimmy T.) before, and it's supposed to be a dwarf variety.

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