Have I Mentioned It’s Hot?

Today Jane and Dani showed up at 8:00 am to weed the gardens and it was steamy even by then. It has only been dropping into the mid and upper seventies overnight, so you can get some idea of the heat during the day. The air is so hot, it reminds me of standing near a bonfire. ย We were able to harvest squash and tomatoes and cucumbers and Ben came by just in time to take them to the farmer’s market for AFAC pick up.

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Three little cucumbers hiding in the shade…Note the lemon cucumber on the left (it’s yellow).

The small garden has lots of tomatoes and the large garden has squash and cucumbers. The rabbits have been eating the bean plants so that has been one of the many failures of the garden this year.

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At least we have some flowers to cheer us!

Honestly, I am pretty discouraged. I can’t remember a worse year in the garden, though one is lurking deep in my repressed memory bank. Something ate the Butternut squash I have been documenting in the past few weeks.

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Ack. A squashicide. So disappointing.

And something got under the bird netting to eat both Brandywines I had hoped to harvest.

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Rat criminals!!!!

And something is attacking the peppers already.

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Pepper eaters!!! Grrrrr…

I have learned it may very well be rats. When the fencing was replaced (another nightmare) many of the rat traps were apparently taken away. In addition, a new construction site a few blocks away has run the rats from their homes and they seem to have decided our community gardenย is Shangri-la. I think our County extension agent knows about it and is working to get us some more rat traps (those black plastic things which are apparently full of deadly food).

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Is anyone here doing well? It looks green…

I do have more squash coming on, but if they’re all going to be eaten, well, ugh. In desperation I started looking around the garden for something to make me feel better about feeding the wildlife rather than myself.

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Now she looks cool, but I can assure you neither of us was.

I saw Mary in her garden watering. Because of her location, she has a bit of early morning shade and it was nice over there.

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She had also picked flowers, herbs and tomatoes.

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Yum!

Last year, she planted rye grass as a winter cover crop and really liked the result. This year, she is trying buckwheat. I took some pictures of her sprouts.

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I’ve never seen buckwheat sprouts. These are looking pretty sturdy.

And I admired one of the two fig trees we have in the garden, loaded with tiny fruits, and then left, feeling a little bit better.

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This tree is loaded with figs.

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53 Responses to Have I Mentioned It’s Hot?

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    I can feel your disappointment, Lisa. All that hard work to feed rats! Ugh. You might try sprinkling blood meal around – it deters rabbits and deer, so maybe rats, too. You can go light (it’s pricey), but have to reapply after a rain.
    I’m not thrilled with rat poison, as anything that eats the dead rats (owls, fox, raptors or cats will sicken and die as well). What about the old-fashioned wooden spring traps (Victor brand)? They are $1.97 each at Home Depot. Might be worth spending $10 to get 5.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      I have thought of those big rat traps. We have used the small traps for voles before. Given the urban nature of our garden, the County is fairly active with the traps as it’s a much larger problem than our garden. Usually they try to take away the food source (bird feeders) but since it’s a garden, that’s out of the question. But perhaps a few traps near the juicy tomatoes would be in order (although I’d have to go to the garden each day to check them; in this heat they would become vile pretty quickly).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza Waters says:

        Yes, that thought crossed my mind about the traps…how far away do you live from the garden? The blood meal would work in absentia however and it adds nitrogen to the soil.

        Like

      • arlingwoman says:

        Five minute drive, fifteen minute walk; maybe I’ll try the blood meal. I’ve been using fox urine granules for the rabbits, which works if you put it down enough. Rats might be too smart for that. I could try the blood meal. But I’m thinking may be barriers would be better–hose or nylon net bags over the tomatoes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza Waters says:

        It’s like girding for battle! ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Tang says:

    You win some, you lose some, Lisa. When you are at the mercy of nature, and that includes rats, you have to be philosophical. I lose a lot of fruit too and some of the predators are on two legs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh dear! Somehow bunnies and squirrels seem so much friendlier as garden invaders than rats do! For a metropolitan area you sure have a lot of wildlife! I know how disappointing it is to have your plants stolen from under you by stealthy visitors – and it is a lot of hard work keeping these gardens going! Don’t lose heart though Lisa – there must be solutions to these challenges. The heat sounds alarming – it’s a wonder the fruits aren’t cooking in situ!! How are those kitchen renovation plans coming along? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sylvie G says:

    I have a great fear and disgust of rats. And now they are attacking your garden : not faire

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d say get a shotgun for the rats and other varmints, but in them there parts where you live, a gun-totin” woman would arouse no end of dismay. Besides, I don’t know what kind of a shot you are, but if you are unhandy with firearms, you would have to take some shootin’ lessons in order to bullseye somethin’ as little as a rat, or even a rabbit. Nevermind. Have a mint julep, crease up a sheet of copier paper in one-inch folds, and fan your beaded brow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Actually, a .22 for the rats is better. But that would be in a corn crib (I’m sounding positively murderous). I grew up shooting trap and skeet and handling a couple different rifles. I was going to bring my dad’s Franchi shotgun home at one point until I found out how far I’d have to drive for a trap club. Those rats are home free! Unless they eat the equivalent of too much coumadin (warfarin if it’s for vermin) or step into a trap. The garden has neighbors who complain about weed whacking too early in the morning. Heaven knows what they would make of gunfire!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin says:

    Lemon cucumbers??!! I’ve never heard of them before and after a quick search, I think I might have to try them next year. Do you know if they pickle well? A friend is trying the Mexican gherkins (not a true cucumber) this year for pickling, and I’m looking towards something small for pickling next year.

    Squashicide…lol! It’s not funny, but…I like your word for it. I’m so sorry about the vermin eating your vegetables. I know how discouraging that can be. Something has a taste for our Brandywines, too. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    The heat. Ugh. And ugh. It’s muggy, but we could use some rain. We have to water tonight.

    Like

    • arlingwoman says:

      I’m going back this evening to water. It is soooo hot. I haven’t tried pickling the lemon cukes. I just eat them They only look different, which might or might not affect their taking to pickling. Mostly they’re just fun to see in the garden.

      Like

  7. KerryCan says:

    How demoralizing this is! I know how low and cranky I get when it’s really hot out and then to add all that loss of produce–I’m impressed with your persistence. I’m afraid I’d just walk away. Is there any break in the weather coming, according to the forecast?

    Like

  8. What a lot you have to contend with Lisa. You need all your admirable resilience

    Like

  9. jennypellett says:

    Oh! What a shame! We have squirrels to contend with as well as mice who just love to get into our garage then make their way up the walls to underneath the bathroom floor- yuk! But I guess that crop growing is fraught with frustrations like this. Chin up, Lisa, your plot is brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh I am so sorry to hear about this frustration!!! But the fig tree looks amazing, what a beauty! Wishing you cool weather, rain and no rats! Xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. arlingwoman says:

    Oooh, all of those things would be perfect. Thanks, Johanna!

    Like

  12. LB says:

    Oh Lisa, as I read through you post I could feel your frustration and your sadness. All that and the heat, too!
    I’m glad you found a few things to cheer you (those figs!), but I’m sorry about all the negatives (rats – ugh!). I admire your persistence, and your community spirit

    Like

  13. Laurie Graves says:

    So sorry for all the loss in the garden. Very frustrating! It’s hotter than heck in Maine—mid to high 90s, with high humidity. I expect it’s been even worse in your neck of the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m sorry to hear about all the troubles from the animals, Lisa. Our apple tree was stripped of its fruit – we figure that’s squirrels, but we’re not sure. And I said a bad word to the robins who ate almost all of my red currants this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is still a lovely garden. Mine is such a wild, wild mess right now. Really. I should post pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      Maybe they’d make me feel better. The rats are getting everything now. Ugh. I may rip it out and plant fall crops, which will be less alluring.

      Like

      • Do you have nothing left?? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Like

      • arlingwoman says:

        Every time I think I have a squash or a tomato, I come back when I think it should be ready and it’s either half eaten or gone. Worst garden year ever! I do have basil and kale and the rats don’t seem to care about the eggplant, but what is eggplant without tomatoes??? I’ve got lots of flowers for cutting, too, but not much food…

        Like

      • Ugh! Sorry to hear it! Some years are bad years and they suck! I have so much but I’m worried if I don’t tame it I’m gong to allow it to get choked out. I think I’ve already lost my strawberry plants!

        Liked by 1 person

      • arlingwoman says:

        If it ain’t one thing it’s another in the garden! I bet if you weed in the fall the strawberries will be okay, but it depends on what kind they are. Regardless, they’re done bearing!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Boomdeeadda says:

    Gah, drat’s for the rats and the heat. We don’t have rats here, just mice. And I don’t really mind them, they remind me of Stewart Little. I’m impressed that your gardening friend can wear sporty white at the garden and stay clean. I tend to get totally disheveled doing yard work. She must be some kind of garden ninja. I can’t do heat at all. We actually had a very mild summer with only one day at 30C. The trees are turning golden now and the nights are pretty cool……fall is closing in. xb

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    • arlingwoman says:

      I have ruined so many whit t-shirts this year, thinking I’m just running in to water or harvest. I think she IS a garden ninja. As for mice, I wouldn’t mind them outside in sporty little cars. Never want them inside, though. Might have to throw one in the dryer…

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      • Boomdeeadda says:

        ?!!! oh gosh, no mice in dryers please…..they’re just going about mouse business the only way they know. I prefer they don’t come in my house too but they have little souls and I would just try to shoe them back out into nature. We had one in our condo once and the minute we opened the front door, the terrified little thing B-lined for it. Call me, I’ll come right over ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      • arlingwoman says:

        I rented a cabin in Maine once that smelled of mice when we walked in. There was one kitchen drawer they seemed to occupy and during our stay we threw rice grains in there, hoping to keep them away from our other food. Don’t you remember the cat in Stuart Little? It was either the washer or the dryer it trapped Stuart in. Fortunately his human mother found him before anything awful happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Boomdeeadda says:

        Oooooh, yah now I see where you were coming from, LOL…yes the washing machine and Stewart and a rescue…Whew!

        Like

      • arlingwoman says:

        See, it wasn’t me, it was the evil cat….

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: 10th and Barton Garden Update - August 2016 - AFAC

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