Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Relentless Heat Out of Scale and Context for June

Air temperature today-before lunch-92 degrees.  We've put away our winter coats and turned on the air conditioning.  The allotment has gotten its first layer of straw and a good thing too.  Soil temperature is 97 degrees two inches down on bare soil, but it's 77 under the light reflecting mulch.  (68.5 at four inches under the straw)  Many neighboring gardeners don't like mulches; I admire their ability to hoe and cultivate and weed...true dirt farmers because it looks to me like that's what they grow-orderly bare dirt.  Bare soil is unnatural in the Midwest....clear a patch and the planet immediately throws a green bandage over the wound and out come the hoes again. Exhausting.  I prefer to garden.
Here is red mustard being a nurse plant to some pepper seedlings sheltering near the tip of the leaves.  The peppers (Sheepnose pimento) will soon grow tall and shelter the mustard in turn. On the left is invisible mache which I covered completely with straw during this heat wave.
 Speckled Trout Belly lettuce that I've been munching while doing the chores.  Haven't decided whether to eat it all or grow  out for seed.  This unusual June heat may make the decision for me by causing it to bolt.  This was one of Jefferson's famous lettuce varieties, but the seed is common now, so perhaps I'll pull the lettuce to give the salvia-on the right-more room.  It's salvia guarantica-with flowers more blue than a June sky over the rainbow-a high nectar plant to call in the hummingbirds and what's a speckly lettuce to that?  Here too are browallia and Sky petunias

This robin is my faithful pal as long I've got a garden hose and some digging to do.

Had a serious talk with that broccoli  plant-second from the end-about the value of real estate in 400 square feet of garden and the expectations of occupying a bit of it.  Other plants are making inquiries and promises.  Potatoes coming up randomly and there's my latest garden hat.....doing  no good, but annoying me less...on the compost prison.  
There's a small lemon verbena plant next to the viola; native to the Argentine savanna, it loves this heat which it rather expected to have in December.  Soon it'll look like this. 

 Long view of the community garden.  We're a fairly tidy bunch on this section without many fences and only quiet eccentricities.   

The other side of the path.  It's interesting how these random plot assignments work out.  I find this intriguing to look at, but as a tourist only, and I was given a plot where the fences are built of courtesy.  Fences should be garden art or it comes to this: fence something out; fence yourself in. (shudder)  Or as my pal Bob Frost said ....before I built a wall, I'd ask to know, what I was walling in or walling out; and to whom I was likely to give offence
Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down.
These garden owl statues perplex me.  Does the gardener think that  sly varmints won't have noticed  a normally nocturnal and stealthy predatory bird has taken to sitting on a pole day after day in the heat of the afternoon.  I plan on putting a child's birthday hat on this one.

A patch of mustard and onions  gone to seed.  Someone will come soon and knock this down, but I find it beautiful.  I could take off my glasses and paint this.

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