Weather or Not?

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Hello dear readers…welcome to Vietnam.

About two weeks ago we had evening temperatures drop to freezing or below for at least two nights (three, I think).  We have organic farmers just up the street and it really affected them.  They went out to turn on sprinklers to protect against the frost, found their outdoor pipes and sprinklers were frozen, and had to spend the evenings lighting barrels and driving around to keep fruit trees and crops from freezing.  As far as I know, they were successful.

I thought my sunflowers and a couple of other plants might be toast (or, ice cream, if you want a consistent metaphor) but our sheltered environment, combined with lots of organic material in the soil, (this generates heat, as microbes do their thing) saved the plants.  I had not yet planted tomato and pepper seedlings outdoors, so they were fine, and the tomatoes are now planted and growing.

I will not bore you with the chipmunks in the bathroom again; suffice it to say the bathroom has been repaired by men who do that sort of thing.  “Never seen or heard of anything like this” was a common refrain.  No insurance for chipmunks.  Chip and Dale are now in a magical wonderland, if that makes you feel any better.

Now we have come through about four days of torrential rain.  At times like this, I am happy to have raised beds.  They drain quickly and plants seldom suffer from being logged with water.  I did have a couple of squash plants whose stems split, as they are wont to do when they receive too much water too quickly, but they will continue to send roots from those spots and the plants look healthy as heck.

I have carrots up and growing well.  I held off on beets and will plant them this week.  I found a lot of coriander growing from last year’s seed in some beds, so I’ll just let most of it mature.  Thinned plants are tasty in salad or stir fry.

I have thyme, rosemary, sage, peppermint, chocolate mint, and lovage in abundance.  Nasturtiums are starting up.  I plant them in different beds because they are edible and they are beautiful flowers, attracting pollinators.  I let some of the herbs go to bloom, as they likewise attract pollinators and beneficial predatory insects.  And the morning glories are beginning to take off.

So it has been interesting here in zone 2b.  It can get crazy hot some days and then, especially after a few days of rain, it can cool off dramatically.  Thought I would keep you in touch in case you thought I dropped off the planet.  Interesting days, to be sure, but after a couple days of strong sunlight (our days are about 15 hrs long this time of year) everything will take right off and be caught up in no time.

We may get plants into the ground a little later, especially if they are frost sensitive, but then we get long days of light and it is incredible to watch what seemed to be mucky clay, suddenly burst forth with a large variety of plants, but primarily clovers and grasses which are mulched into the lawn, increasing the organic matter.  Sarah swears the sunflowers grow so fast you can see them develop right before your eyes.

Anyhow.  I have a little more planting to do and then it will be a final weeding, finishing with a good layer of mulch.  And company arrives tomorrow for a few days.  I am very excited to see them and a general tidying needs to be done.  I will post pics soon, promise.

Happy growing!

St. John of the Asylum


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