It’s cool under the new Pergola shade structure at the Lost Arts House.
The New Blue Hen Pergola
With temperatures breaking new records, it’s great to have the back deck shaded from the hot afternoon sun.
Resident plants are lantana, penta, basil, sage, and oregano, which makes a lovely hanger. In the garden below the deck are more Lantana and all the animals’ favorite: Mexican Sunflower. (Tithonia Diversifolia)
In the record heat we’re experiencing this summer, we have to water the hangers everyday at least once! It’s so nice to have shade on the hot and sunny back deck, and the plants double as a butterfly garden!
The Main Garden
With temperatures hovering between 95 and 98 degrees and heat indexes over 120 (!), it’s been a very uncomfortable summer for animals, plants, and people! The only crop that chugs right along in the hot and humid is the cover crop, cowpeas.
We won’t start the Fall garden until the heat has broken, probably October! By then we’ll have starts for the cool weather crops, cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choy, and direct seed the collards and carrots. Can’t wait…
In the meantime we’re rescuing the Main Garden from this year’s dominant weed…three feet tall and with a tap root to rival the tallest Long Needle Pine.
West Central Florida – Finally…! Year 9 brings a half-way decent crop of veggies in the North Garden. With the weather becoming more and more extreme, it has been a challenge to grow anything! Summer starts in January now instead of April and runs through October. Winter takes over in November and gives way to heat and humidity at the end of December. Seeds won’t germinate above 70F, and plants won’t grow with temps in the 90s. If the parsnips don’t die from the heat, they will surely freeze to death!
This year we were sneaky…waiting til it got cooler to plant, we covered the seedlings with nice warm manure hay to protect from frost. Gotta love that rabbit manure! Best fertilizer going! We have broccoli, kale, onions, cabbage, collards, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, ground apples, green Malibar spinach, parsley, chives, Seminole pumpkins…well, see for yourself!
A chicken tractor for weeding…the Bresse Rooster does a great job. The Sheep are in the North Orchard. Sheep are grazers, unlike goats who are foragers. So the sheep eat the weeds and leave the fruit trees alone, theoretically.
We had a decent crop of loquats this year, froze them for wine-making. And the peaches are excellent. We are currently sharing them with a squirrel. So far we’ve picked more than he’s been able to carry away. Year 9, everybody’s happy!