Catching Up

Above: A sunflower volunteered among my monkshoods last year. These small sunflowers pop up all over the place because I use the seeds in my feeders, and the birds and squirrels spread them all around. Both sunflowers and monkshoods (Aconitum spp.) are excellent bee plants.

I HAVEN'T BEEN POSTING AS OFTEN AS I'D LIKE to this blog. Partly it's because, after an unusually cool, rainy spring and early summer, we are now having warmer temperatures and high humidity. I have trouble sleeping in warm weather, to say nothing of nights like last night--when, honestly, my sheets felt as though I had washed them and forgot to put them through the drier. This leaves me lazy and more than a little dazed during the day.

The effect on the garden has been, first, to create an explosion of weeds. Areas that I weeded a few weeks ago are already getting weedy again. Even mulch, my standby both for holding back weeds and for retaining moisture in the soil, doesn't seem to be doing a particularly good job on the weed front this year: The weeds are either coming up through it or seeding themselves into it. Meanwhile, however, growth in the vegetable garden has been stunted. One crop of spinach stayed small and yellowish; then on the first day that we had any sun, it all went to seed. Another crop, planted earlier in the season, did deliver one big bag of large, edible leaves. But I'm going to have to try to plant a fall crop if I want to get anything for the freezer. The cherry tomato plants are all quite small, and I don't hold out much hope for a big crop even though, in general, cherry tomato plants are a lot more reliable than the regular varieties. The scarlet runner beans, which I plant more for the hummingbirds than for food, are also stunted: They've grown only about a foot and a half, and hardly deserve the name "runner" at all!

The only annual plants that look as though they might still be a success story are the sunflowers. I plant a variety of these every year for the bees and the birds, and because I love to watch them grow. in addition, I put black oil sunflower seeds in my feeders, and so a certain number of seeds are spread about by birds and squirrels. About a week or so ago, the sunflowers I planted finally seemed to take off.

Though I seem to be falling into a summer doldrum, I do have a list of topics I want to write about soon. With luck I will be inspired by the sunflowers, and find some new energy as we move into late summer.


jodi said...

I'm with you on the weeds for sure! There seems to be a bumper crop of them, but I just keep working away at an area. I haven't even started to mulch yet, because I have soil to put around...but tomorrow after I pick strawberries I'm going to move dirt til I get tired. (hopefully my better half will help too.)
summer doldrums are tiresome, but hopefully the weather will settle down and be less humid. A trip to the seashore might be what you need. :-)

jodi said...

Almost forgot: discovered another awesome blog about pollinators, etc at Sounds like you could be Kindred spirits.

jodi said...

I goofed yet again...the website I wanted to tell you about is called Pollinators Welcome:

It's defintely Friday 13th around here....