>I know, I know, all us Texans complain about the drought and 100+ temps and then show gorgeous pictures of our gardens. How bad off can we really be? Well, I’m here to tell you it’s all about the magic of macro photography in the cool of the morning. It’s easy to get a picture of one gorgeous bloom…and not show the plants in states of distress all around it.
So let’s get real. What does my vegetable garden REALLY look like right now. Well, check out my squash above. That is how they look every afternoon in the 100+ temps we have been enduring for weeks. This is one of the hottest summers on record in Texas (in sharp contrast to the coolest summer on record last year). The heat and drought, coupled with maturing plants on the downturn have really driven vegetables to distress right now. Bugs have moved in and made the most of the weakened plants.
But they have really taken a beating. The soyu variety is still producing, perhaps helped by being trellised off the ground. But you can see the bugs all over them.
And the squash. You saw my one remaining yellow squash plant up top. After the Great Squash Vine Borer Massacre, many of the plants had to be pulled. Those remaining may wish they had been pulled earlier. The hot afternoon sun drives them to wilt. I have been shade-clothing some of the plants to give them a bit of a break, careful to let the bees have access for pollination.
And you can see I am still getting a supply of patty pan squash. One every week or so.
But with the constant damage of the borer, even with proactive measures taken, I have developed a steady practice of mounding dirt over the stalk every few weeks to help the plant develop new roots and not depend on the section of stem that has been, or will inevitably be eaten by the borer.
You can see in this picture the old stalk, with considerable boring activity and then the newest part of the plant with the dirt mounded up at it’s base.
And tomatoes? Ugh, don’t even talk to me about tomatoes. I think I maybe got 2 tomatoes total off of 5 tomato plants. I cut them back by half a few weeks ago to try and revive them for the upcoming fall season. May or may not work. Flowers on plants mean nothing right now as most plants won’t set fruit. So I’ll just let them be and hope they stay healthy until cooler night allow them to do their thing.
Ahhh, such is the lament of the late summer vegetable garden.