fall garden startup

Here we go again. Ready to start up the garden after 6 weeks of solarization and 2 months of flooding rains. Not sure if the solarization will work as advertised since the rains had to have a cooling affect. About the only thing I learned was that almost nothing grows in the kind of heat and moisture we had this summer. Almost nothing – I did have success with a second planting of okra and the vining Malabar spinach. Didn’t seem even slightly intimidated by the climate. I thought my watermelons were another success but they got about half size and then just split and rotted on the vine. And of course the nematode killing marigolds thrived – too bad those aren’t edible.

I completely reformatted the garden with wider, raised rows in the hopes of promoting faster drainage. As of 9/15 the water level was just a few inches beneath the floor of the garden or about 12” below the raised rows. In leveling the garden I measured a 4” difference from one side of the garden to the other – that’s over a 20′ span – a fairly big slope to make up.

I had planted pepper seeds in pots about 8 weeks ago with the intent of having a good, late fall crop of peppers. But the rains kept coming and the pepper seedlings kept growing until it was put up or shut up time. The seedlings had grown so large, some plants were sporting blossoms – way larger than I had ever let grow before outside the garden. So the big question marks are: will it continue raining or can we hope for some drop in the ground water level? Hurricane season is not over yet but things look placid in the Atlantic – am I tempting Poseidon? Peppers just won’t grow with wet roots so this is a major gamble. Will the large plants transplant ok? I really have no choice; they are not going to get smaller. I planted 8 standard green bell peppers; 4 jalapenos; 8 volcano banana style – these were free seeds sent to me by a seed company so I figured no big loss if they crash. Our next door neighbor pickles the jalapenos so maybe these volcano peppers will make it in the same jars. We’ll be ok pepper wise if half of these make it.

Also planted another wide row with a space saving bush variety of cucumber, a bush variety of zucchini, and a semi-bush acorn squash. And a row of bush beans – half green beans and half wax beans. I’m hoping that it’s going to cool down a few degrees over the next couple of weeks with just the right amount of rain. Doesn’t seem like to much to ask. If all goes well, we could be harvesting these items in early Nov. Probably start the cool weather stuff in a few weeks when the daytime highs are consistently below 90.

Had my annual eye exam yesterday. I really hate it because it takes so long. First the office is always running behind; it’s always full; you get a regular exam then a dilation which takes 30 minutes to kick in; then another wait for the real doc to check for the tough stuff. After the doc does his examination he gives me the results. No problem he says. You have some cataracts starting and one of these days you’ll come in and complain about a little blur and glare and we’ll get rid of them; no problem, a little dry eye macular – but you won’t go blind. If you drink a little red wine, great for the macular – take two glasses instead of one. Great doc. He gives me a prescription for glasses

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