Well, you’ve probably been wondering if the tomato hornworms got me at last, or maybe the Japanese beetles. In truth, it was a combination of a crazy two weeks of work and a heat wave that kept me indoors and in front of not one, but two fans, that made for a rather sparse blog. But I’m back, it’s August, my client writing work has dropped to its usual fast but not crazy pace, and I’m happy to say the garden is recovering from the heat wave.
We had a tremendous heat wave during the last two weeks of July. I can’t remember it being quite so oppressive. It wasn’t just the heat – the air itself felt so heavy it was difficult to breathe. The humidity was also outrageous. The one day I tried to work outside, I was dripping with sweat at 8 a.m. just standing in the raised bed garden trying to water the tomato plants. That’s bad. I called it quits. Let the weeds have at it.
If you wait long enough, everything changes, and so too did the weather. Finally, thunderstorms rolled in, breaking the heat wave. It’s now in the high 80s and 90s, and the plants took a big, thirsty gulp of water as each day they get more and more natural rainfall. I’m breathing a sigh of relief and plotting my approach to the weeding as I type this.
I like to clear areas near the house and the entrance to the garden first. It gives me an immediate feeling of success and accomplishment.
The tomato harvest this year has been wonderful. The giant beefsteak tomatoes we planted in the raised bed vegetable garden are better suited to Virginia’s climate than the ones I grew for the past several years, varieties I had grown up with in New York. Here in my Virginia garden, “Supersteak”, “Super Sonic” and “Celebrity” are producing an abundance of enormous tomatoes. The “Early Girl” plants I grew from seed are gifting us with tomatoes, but they aren’t half as tasty as the giant ones. And of course, the cherry tomatoes have started in with a vengeance this week. I don’t even bother planting them anymore. A few of them always fall to the ground and reseed the garden anyway.
The crows have also been enjoying the tomatoes. They were bad with the strawberries this year, but the bird net helped. I let them have the rotten tomatoes, tossing them onto a space on the lawn where I leave moldy and stale bread for them. Unfortunately, they’ve started helping themselves to some in the garden. I’m not too happy about that, but I’m not sure yet what to do.
In the meantime, the flowers are providing me with beauty and attracting plenty of butterflies. The zinnias are especially lovely this year. I love watching the hummingbirds on the zinnias in the morning. The hummers seem to visit in the morning, and the butterflies in the afternoon.
This month, we’re starting a few new things here at Home Garden Joy. You already know about Foodie Friday and Wellness Wednesday. On Foodie Friday, I try to post a recipe from the garden for your enjoyment. Wellness Wednesday is all about health, healing and happiness from the garden, herbs and plants for healing, and health from the garden.
I’m please to launch a new interview series this month, too! Each month, I’ll interview a gardening expert, similar to the interview I did with worm composting guy Henry Owen a few months ago. Drop me a note or leave a comment if there’s a particular gardening topic you’d like me to find an expert to interview about. And do leave me a comment or drop me a note if you’d like to see more articles about a particular gardening topic here on Home Garden Joy.
Lastly, an announcement. I was thrilled to find out that Home Garden Joy made it into the Top 100 great gardening blogs on the web. We were ranked #98. Thanks to the good folks at Feed Spot for the honor!
So keep gardening, folks, and keep growing. I’ve been blogging for nine years now and finally seeing my online “garden” of blog posts grow to the point where folks are taking notice. Some of us are zucchini seeds, growing in a matter of days and producing giant zucchinis in weeks. I’m more like an oak tree for which my farm is named. I planted a little acorn called Home Garden Joy, lovingly watered and tended it, and finally, it’s growing big enough to produce shade. Thank you for your support.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.