Friday, July 7, 2017

Fancy Figs

Peters Honey Figs Covered By Organza Bags

Fancy Figs

This is our first year growing figs and having the opportunity to taste figs that are not from the store.  In fact, when thinking of buying fig trees I bought my first turkey fig from a reputable store and was not impressed.  It had a very grassy, very 'meh' flavor.  

My son assured me fresh figs do not taste like that, so I bought a bunch of 'not turkey fig' trees.  Most of the figs are of the green/yellow variety as these are supposed to trick birds into not knowing when figs are ripe...  uhm hm...

Being a beginner, we didn't know when the figs would be ripe.  Not being too concerned, thinking we have until August, the figs weren't checked much.  

Bird Pecked Fig
Then, when watering and checking the figs (because the figs were no longer green), I saw a couple of figs that had been pecked out.  Now.. I know there are some losses, but to have the first ripe figs molested and defiled before we get to try it out is super irritating.

And even more irritating is that the birds don't really do much more than ruin the fruit for everyone else.  At least the rats (roof rats in this area) would take the entire fig and make use of it.  The birds are...  aggravatingly bird brained.

Enough griping...


Cukes, squash, tomatoes, beans

Shade House Update



The shade house is doing really well.  It works for much of the plants - not much sun stress going on.

We planted a few tomato plants, yardlong beans, red runner beans, different cucumber plants and some plants we aren't sure what they are - they sprouted from the compost.

This is the most success we've had with these garden foods at this time of year.  All thanks to 40% shade cloth.


Heat Lovers
Watermelon vines


Watermelons don't need a shade cloth and here is proof.  These plants are thriving, growing super quickly and don't care how hot it is in the full sun.  We are really looking forward to scoring a few watermelons this year.  I think we can expect 3 melons per vine, and we got a pack of six vines.  Probably more melons than we'll know what to do with or keep on hand.  The good thing is that not all the melons can possibly ripen at the same time, and they can stay on the vine until the vine dies off, so maybe we can enjoy these over an extended period of time.

Luffa Vine
We are growing some luffa gourds again this year.  These were a lot of fun last time and we scored a lot of low cost luffa sponges.

The luffa vine takes the brunt of the heat here, climbs up the metal welded dog run fencing and doesn't stop!  It is a very lovely green color and the flowers much like all the cuke and melon flowers.

We also have our tried and true Armenian cucumber vines that are chugging
Armenian Cucumber
along.  Not as well as the Luffas, though.  The leaves are smaller and darker being in the full sun and heat, but we have a few flowers getting started.

Armenian cucumbers are my absolute favorite cucumber, and we are trying out a couple of others this year along with the store type English cucumbers normally in the produce aisles and a repeat of the lemon cucumbers that are pretty good, but we didn't get much of last time.

We're excited to get the garden going again this year.  It has been baren and kind of depressing without it.


Female Blue Dasher - Pachydiplax longipennis

Appearances


We have a couple of really good photos - one is of a female Blue Dasher dragonfly.  I was struck by the red/brown goggle like eyes.  This one may be an immature dragonfly as the coloring is still very blue and the females usually become brown as they get older.  They do retain the bicolor eyes.

The male Blue Dashers change color and become mostly blue hued with blue green eyes.

Agepostemon virescens - Metallic Sweat Bee


Reaching back into the archives of my photos, I have a really good photo of Agapostemon virescens.  I saw one yesterday, just hanging out on a fig tree leaf, but none of the multitudes of photos were any good. A big disappointment sometimes.

Luckily, we have a really good photo of an Agepostemon virescens (aka metallic sweat bee) on a mint flower.  These bees are really jewel-like.  I'd love to make a pendant or broach fashioned after these bees with their coloring.  They would have to be upsized, of course.  If it was life size, no one would be able to recognize what it is or even notice it as jewlery.

Excitement and activities are back in the garden.  We are getting more lizard sightings.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

First Day Of Summer

Historical Monthly Record Highs

First Day Of Summer

And it is a scorcher over here.  It is really nothing new, but declaring today as the 'first day of summer' seems a bit of a joke.

Our record high for June was 122 which occurred in 1999.  I was here for that.  We had a bunch of t-shirts proudly worn by Phoenicians: 'I survived the summer of 122'.

Just yesterday, the high was 119, and we can still get scorch-tortured through to the end of July.  This is when we generally stay indoors.

40% Shade Cover
A nice deep layer of mulch and a 40% shade seems to do the trick for the garden right now.  We have a bunch of little starter plants in preparation for the cooler weather.  Many tomatoes will not produce when the temps are above 100f, so we didn't bother working on a summer harvest.

Sun Scorched Avocado Leaves
Some of the more tender plants are still in the smaller shade area with less exposure to sunlight throughout the day.  Our avocado tree had to be moved into that area as some of the leaves became sun scorched.

Some of the plants are getting bleached out leaves in response to the intense sun and the non stop heat.  Pretty soon we'll be in the period of summer where even the night time temperatures are still hovering around 100.

It is not a particularly enjoyable time of year as far as the weather is concerned, but I would not trade all this hot hot sunshine for constant clouds and rain or months of being shut in due to loads of snow and dark days.  I must like the sunshine as much as my plants do!