In the Deep South, summer is almost a gap between two gardening seasons: spring and fall. These are the seasons in which it’s pleasant to garden in the South.
Summer is not pleasant, though it is an excuse for drinking beer and eating watermelon while spraying small children with the hose.
If you played your cards right during the spring garden season, you’re now harvesting hot peppers and okra and the remains of the tomatoes, along with winter squash, watermelons and corn… but it’s not really the time to plant new things, unless you want to throw in some okra, a few more sweet potatoes, or perhaps a bed of Southern peas.
This morning I got up early and used a string trimmer to knock down some of the weeds around the edges of the garden and the paths, then broke out the tiller and tilled under two patches of weedy garden which had already been harvested; one being our spring potato bed, the other, my daughter’s patch of wheat.
Instead of planting them with food, we’re going to put in two patches of sunn hemp as a cover crop for the summer. This will add nitrogen and give us lots of material for mulch and compost.
We did this last year on a patch of terrible sand and it did great.
I was tempted to plant another round of pumpkins to see how they’d do, but decided I’d rather crush out all the weeds and make compost instead with the space.
We can plant pumpkins out where the pigs cleared in the food forest and see how they do. Apparently, they will live at this time of year, despite the crazy heat and bugs. We’ve not ever planted them this late so it will be an experiment. We’re about to harvest pumpkins from the ones planted in March and April – perhaps we’ll get two generations in one year. This will be good for the C. moschata landrace project.
We also plan to put in some more watermelons to see how they do.
Yesterday we harvested a 20lb watermelon from Ezekiel’s landrace project.
When we cut it open, we were surprised by the color.
It was sweet and pleasant, but not super rich in flavor. Very enjoyable, however, especially on a hot day.
There are some yellow and orange genetics in Ezekiel’s landrace project.
Good Gardener Leo, from South Georgia, had some of Ezekiel’s seeds and sent in these pictures two days ago:
“Here are some pics of our first watermelon from Ezekiel’s landrace seeds. It turned out the yellow variety. It tasted like a yellow melon. A few more coming up. I added some other seeds of I don’t know what to the landrace. We are looking forward to see what they look like!”
The mix of seed lines in this landrace is really ridiculous. It’s going to be interesting to see which traits become dominant in a few more seasons.
Finally, we finished our bookshelves and finally got all of our books out of boxes a few days ago.
Feels good. It’s nice to have a cool place to read while the heat soars outside.
Knocking down the weeds this morning was quite satisfying, though. It wasn’t super hot because the sky was overcast, so I got more done on the garden than we’ve managed in a while.
One step at a time. The weeds won’t win. Just when you think you’ve totally lost the fight forever, fall and winter come and save your bacon. Also, if we can suppress the weeds and get lots of biomass from a few sunn hemp patches, we’ll be in great shape for our fall gardens.
For now I need leave my office and head inside to read Stuart Little with my daughter. In the new library.
Can’t beat that.