When I had the delight of touring my friend Susanna’s garden a while back, she told me one of those stories only another passionate digger can appreciate. Seems that in winter, by the time she got off work and got home to cover the things in the winter beds, it was already pitch dark. So a friend got her a headlamp and they would laugh at the sight of the little headlamp out flickering in the yard as Susanna tended her leafy flock in the darkness….Read More
If I’m lucky, this little bloom will grow into a delicious cantaloupe! I didn’t get it planted till late, but probably in time to still get plenty of melons if the raccoons don’t get them first. (The chew a nice hole in the rind then scoop out all the good stuff with those little clever paws…)
What I’ve always called a cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon, while true cantaloupes have a thick, warty skin and are more favored in Europe it seems. But muskmelon sounds strange after a lifetime of cantaloupe…so cantaloupe it is.
Like most melons though, this bloom will need about eight visits from a bee if indeed it is to become a melon. I’ve noticed the bumblebees LOVE the blooms and roll around inside getting completely covered in pollen. Go bees go!
So this pic proves the bees did their work — another good reason to have flowers in the veggie garden is it entices the bees to stay close. Here you see a baby muskmelon/cantaloupe in progress. This pic was several days ago and it’s about twice that size now.
As usual, the vine is taking over an entire garden bed and now spreading out in the rows. One trick with raised beds is to plant it toward the end or edge of the bed, then run the vine out into the lawn to sprawl. You’ll need to put down mulch or landscape cloth under it or the grass underneath will get huge by the time the melons are ready. I’ve read about dwarf or bush vines, but haven’t tried them yet.
I’ve found this is a good way to kill the grass where I want to put a future garden bed – grow melons next door and use the spot as the vine-runner space over a newspaper+mulch or landscape-fabric covered area. By the end of the season, the grass/weeds underneath are dead and it’s ready to be worked into a bed once you remove the covering! I tried a tarp once but, ooops, they don’t drain water and I had to put my cantaloupes on little life rafts after big rains…
Thanks for stopping by Larrapin – where we’ve had another whole day of soft rain and everything is SO happy about that!Read More
What a relief! Last night I was out watering the garden (because I still haven’t put together the irrigation system I’ve had in the box since March) and the cool air just started flowing in – what a delight! It reminded me of living in the Black Mountains of NC, when in the summer evenings if you were out in the yard and the cool air would start slipping down the mountain above us. You could feel it flowing by like water. Wonderful memory. This morning it’s 61 and that feels nearly chilly compared where we’ve been! And cooler is better if you are wearing your fancy bloomers all day:
The chickens made it through the heat, walking around panting since they don’t sweat, hiding out in the shady loafing shed…which begins to look like a bus stop shelter when they are all lined up, motionless, in there…and flopping on the ground in the shade. The moment the temp drops, they emerge in full chicken busy-ness. I let them out of their pasture in the evenings to roam the yard and surrounds. If I let them out earlier they would have time to wander far enough east to get in the garden which could be disastrous to the mulched beds. Chickens and a deep mulch gardening system doesn’t work, except for the chicken, who thinks you set this lovely bug and worm trap just for their pleasure as they are kicking mulch to kingdom-come.
I’d been a little worried how the Buckeyes would handle the heat since they are bred to withstand Ohio winters, not Arkansas summers. But one Buckeye breeder is down in Alabama and is successful, so they’ll probably do fine here. He did post one time that he would drip the hose for them and they’d come and stand in the water. If our water bucket gets low, the Buckeyes will just jump in and stand there. I had to put a fan blowing into their coop at night because it’s so stuffy in there. The tree that used to shade it from the afternoon sun came down in the ice storm. That spot will be high on the replanting list this fall. Supposedly the Australorps are heat tolerant, being from Australia, but they seemed as hot and oppressed and the Buckeyes did. Handsome, our Australorp rooster who arrived in an all-pullet box of chicks last autumn, looked a little miffed getting his portrait taken. You can see though, how he got his name:
Thanks for stopping by Larrapin Garden! The whole place smells like garlic and basil after the big harvest yesterday. I’ll post about that next…AND I’ll finally post the last garden I visited on the Peace Gardens Tour.Read More
Greetings from Larrapin Garden on the day before the rains start (again). Hurricane Ike’s rains should get up to NW Arkansas on Saturday and we could get soaked. Nothing compared to what may happen down in Texas. We’re supposed to get up to 4 inches each day this weekend, compared with potential 15″ of rain in Houston. Geesh, what a rainy year. We’d already had our usual yearly rainfall by June or July this year…
All the rain has had an amazing result on all the greenery and some things are still blooming even as the weather has started to get cool early. Those are scarlet runner beans growing on a fence and a happy bumble bee. The seed packed said “loved by hummingbirds” and that is so true. These are the 2008 favorites of the four hummingbirds that hang out at Larrapin.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs finally arrived after being absent nearly all summer. I think they are not so fond of all this rain.
The last month has been AMAZING for butterflies. We’ve finally got enough nectar plants to have been noted on the butterfly flight paths it seems! Their favorites: Tropical Milkweed (favored over the native perennial I see, but will plant more of both), four butterfly bushes (wow, deadheading will keep them blooming ALL the time), and scarlet runner beans plus assorted flowers. We’ve also got a lot of host trees – oaks, willow, river birch, wild cherry, with more to come such as Paw Paw…
This is a blurry photo, but it’s the first time I’ve seen this type of butterfly here. Will have to look it up. Anyone know the name?
Don’t let this pic fool you. It’s from mid-July I think, when we had enough dry weather to have good tomatoes… The one in my hand is the old fashioned Brandywine, which turns out to be as good as everyone says. The one on the right is Cherokee Purple, which we LOVE but this year’s batch was abysmal between the rain and the first time onslaught of stink bugs on the tomatoes. Will study up on organic control of those buggers next year. They poke the tomatoes just enough to scar them and make them prone to rot. We’ve had a few Ananas Noir (not pictured — but they are soft red and green swirled, both inside and out) and the oddly colored tomato remains the favorite tomato of Larrapin.
So I’ll end this post with a chicken photo since the next post will be a Buckeye update. This unusual chicken is one of the two I picked up as day-old chicks at the hardware store to be companions for the solitary guinea that hatched back in June. The grab-bag chicks are both solid black. One (not pictured) is an Ameraucana,which was confimed when she laid her first blue-green egg! The second black chick has grown up to be quite lovely. Is she a jungle-fowl variety of chicken? Not really sure, will study on that later… Here she is. The white blob in the foreground is the lone guinea chick grown up. And completely convinced she is a chicken. Which is a good thing. It makes her the ONLY guinea who reliably roosts in the chicken house every night. From now on, all my guinea will be raised by chickens!
Thanks for stopping by Larrapin before the rain!Read More