Winding Down the First Round, and Rain! By G. Totten, Sioux Falls

What a gorgeous rain yesterday!  By my estimation, it started around 5:15 AM (in my part of town) and remained steady until almost 10AM.  At 10:15, I could still hear the water working its way down my gutters.   JuJust a lovely, quiet soaking and I swear everything growing from the parkway to the greenway behind the house seems to be standing at jubilant attention.  The smell of it from the opened window before dawn was wonderful.  Oh, a fun note here:  KELO’s website had a sweet article on why rain smells as it does last week.  Once should still be able to locate it on their site: Why Does Rain Have a Smell? Ben Cathey, published August 13th, 6:25 PM

Well, just an update on the growing things in pots experiment.  Although I am certain the extreme heat of July took its toll, overall, one can certainly do this.  I do feel that tomatoes fare better when planted in a traditional plot, be it in a low-level garden or raised beds in yards with poor soil, but over all, I am seeing some success.  If one wants to can from the harvest of a patio, one would certainly have to have it full of tomato pots, but for the table and a bit to share with immediate neighbors, I think this is a good alternative.  My son in Sacramento CA posted a photo of a “gynormous!” tomato grown in this fashion, about the size a small cantaloupe, so I guess that’s more proof to the positive.

I do have to state that my own yield has been spotty, first the problem with blossom end rot, and just in the general yield.  I have been purchasing supplemental tomatoes from the market to aid in canning sufficient amounts of my pepper, tomato, onion and garlic “mixture” pretty much every week, as my peppers are far out-producing the tomatoes.  Next year, I will put the tomato plants in the existing raised beds and mulch, mulch, mulch.  I would love to have enough to cook and can sauces.  

As for my second crop mentioned earlier; well, I did put in a few more beans and peas, and they are sprouting!  The first crop is canned, as are the small amount of beets (so labor intensive!—anyone know how long to steam them, or an easier way to remove the outer layer?).  One forecast calls for continues above average temps and general dryness into October, so we will see if this second planting comes to fruition.  My “Charlie Brown” great pumpkin vine has one pumpkin the size of a child’s toy basket ball and just a few more baby-sized fruits, so we’ll see.  I always consider pumpkins just for fun, anyway, unless you have enough to consider them a cash crop, of course, and I know many do, but anything we get we’ll be just for fun on this end. 

As will many homeowners, I have to admit that my yard is a mess.  I’ve managed to keep up the front to respectability, but my back yard has weeds going to seed on its perimeters, and I will cut if for the first time in six-weeks?), tomorrow after work   I know my mower still works, as I cut the front a good, long week ago.

Finally, the fall magazines are out and I think we are all already considering the lovely warm days and cool nights of autumn.  Last evening in the dusk of early evening, one of my neighbors had a fire going in one of those portable fire pits in the driveway; the smell was lovely.