garden progress report

As hot as it’s been, I had no choice but to move my Swiss chard from containers to the real garden. Swiss chard is a big, leafy plant that prefers cooler weather but does handle heat better than, say, spinach. That’s why we grow it – as a spinach replacement. I think any recipe that calls for spinach will do just fine with Swiss
chard. Anyway it was against my better judgement to plant it in this unusually hot, record breaking weather. I planted it late in the afternoon when the sun was low in the west and hoped that a solid 14 hours before it had direct sunlight would give it a fighting chance. It was ok at 8AM but not so ok at noon. I needed to shade it fast or it would cook right in front of me. Have you ever heard of Saw Palmetto? It’s a low growing palm with big, wide fronds atop stems that are sharp toothed like a wood saw. If you handle these bad boys wrong, you are sliced. I have jillions of them in the jungle surrounding the yard so I lobbed off a handful and set them in the garden to shade the chard. It looks crazy but I’m so far off the beaten path that the only person who will give me any grief about it is Nancy. Within the next few days I’m going to have to transplant cauliflower, kohlrabi and celery into the garden for the same reason so if the palmetto solution works for the chard, no doubt I’ll be cutting more shade palms (and fingers). We have a cool front coming in, supposedly, by the end of the week so hopefully I’ll be able to restore dignity to the garden then.

And here’s a little tidbit for those who care – the yellow bush zucchini put out small fruit on 10/13. I planted the seed on 9/20 so that’s about 4 weeks. I’m guessing it will be about that much time before they’re big enough to pick but it seemed surprisingly quick to see little squash babies. At the same time I planted the yellow variety, I planted a green variety and those are not showing fruit yet – probably only a couple days away.

The green bean plants are also growing really fast and I’m guessing a few blossoms will appear in the next couple of days. I was walking the bean row and notice a few leaves were folded over. Sometimes at a leaf tip, sometimes along an edge. It was really easy to spot because the underside of the leaf is almost white and contrasts well against the dark green top side. I pried one open and found a little green worm critter inside. I’m fairly sure this is a butterfly larva since I’ve seen several little yellow butterflies circling the garden. I went to each leaf I saw that was bent over and just squeezed it. That squooshed the interloper and squirted out his green innards. I’m sure I’ll miss some and they’ll manage a new crop of butterflies but I think I’ll win this battle.

I spotted a red fox the other morning about a block from the house. That may explain why the rabbits haven’t been such a problem so far. It would be fairly easy to exterminate the rabbits if I had the heart to do it. They seem to have no fear of me and I can walk right up on them before they move a few feet away. I’m guessing the foxes have a bit more of a chase on their paws.

How bout them Gators. I was fairly sure Tebow would play and also knew Florida was better than LSU. I was hoping, though, that they would start the back-up quarterback, Brantley. We’ve seen him a couple of times when the game was totally out of reach and he’d come in for a few plays at the end but I think it would liven things up a bit with a passing quarterback at the helm for a change. I’ve got a feeling Urban will give him a bit more playing time this season since there are no serious bad ass teams left on the regular season schedule. You never know in the SEC but unless South Carolina trips them up, I think they have a fairly clear shot at the SEC title – that’s looking more and more like a Fla-Ala matchup.

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