We’re not yet halfway through April — Colorado’s snowiest month — but today when I stepped outside, a heartening sight greeted me:
As I write this post, it is Monday evening, and we have a frost advisory in Denver tonight. Worse, I am enough tired from a weekend away, and jaded from staring at my powdery-mildew and aphid-infested garden, that I have not bothered to go dash sheets over the plants. Wish us all luck, readers.
However, in the meantime, ripe vegetables are finally arriving en masse….
July in Denver was arid and hot; August was cool and wet; and for the garden, September is like the August we never had. In terms of the garden, our plants went on hiatus and are just now getting back into the swing of things. The Roma tomatoes are big, but just now beginning to turn red. This weekend, I’m hoping to get into the garden to peel away some leaves and expose the fruit to the sun in hopes we’ll get a good crop in before frosts hit in October.
Things are getting a little crazy in the garden.
Things are growing beautifully in our garden, despite a heat wave that has us thisclose to breaking the record. (Denver’s record is 15 days of highs over 90 degrees. Barring unforeseen cooling, we’ll tie the record on Wednesday, break it on Thursday and blow it out of the water sometime over the next few weeks.) Even though I am a competitive person, this information is little consolation when it’s been too hot to stand on my lawn barefoot without my feet feeling like they are burning. But this big beet doesn’t care. We’ve also got a lot of babies sprouting green wings in the garden.
It’s been hot, hot, hot and dry, dry, dry this week. Temperatures have been over 90F daily and we’ve had just a few drops of rain one day. Nevertheless, the garden soldiers on. On Sunday, I harvested our first red Juliet tomato — a very early harvest. The plant has set quite a bit of green fruit, too.
As I’ve delved seriously into gardening the past couple of years, I have become more attuned to the hum of life in the garden. Not just the energy of the plants, or the frenetic barking of the neighborhood dogs, but the literal buzz, hum and snap of the buggy life cycle taking place in the garden. We have a plethora of sow bugs and flies working to decompose the earth and the waste cycle emanating from Schnauzer Cheap.
Last week we were away on vacation. Seven days is a long time to abandon one’s garden in mid-summer, especially in Colorado, where it’s nothing extraordinary for the days to reach into the 90s F, the nights to drop to 55, and rain to be as absent as a child at chore time. With humidity barely scraping 47 percent right after a thunderstorm, the hot, dry sun can kill a garden completely.
In the garden, we are entering the exciting Stage 2, where the plants are *visibly* growing. Stage 1 is “everything is in the ground and it’s just sitting there!” Impatient people such as myself get very irritable with Stage 1 … even though we know, intellectually, that while the plant “just sits,” it is doing important work like Getting Used to the Sun and Growing Roots.
The beets are growing! They finally sprouted and up they came. I don’t have a photo of the green beans, but they are growing (sheltered under row cover, so the birds can’t eat the sprouts), and the second planting (to replace what the birds ate) is coming up now.
Not too much has changed in the garden this week. Things are growing, generally. Our Roma tomatoes are still very small, but this photo shows the size they were when we planted them (we have one sad seedling, at the right, still in its six-pack pot); the plant at the left is in the ground, growing better than I’d thought. Our cherry tree has grown a zillion new leaves. The apple trees have grown six to 10 inches since we planted them in April.
Summer has come in, and this week’s garden update is an exciting one. The baby plants we’ve installed have finally started to grow, and some of our seeds are sprouting. In addition, Mr. Cheap’s iris are in bloom. This is the third year we’ve lived in our house. Most of the iris moved with us, and this year, they’re finally coming into their own.
This weekend marked the official start of spring — our garden is in! And those are *real* cherries growing on our tree. There must be a dozen of them growing … enough for a Barbie-sized pie. Maybe a cookie.
Here’s the what, where, how on our garden…