Gardeners are nothing if not optimistic.
Optimism was the driving factor to my spending the last few days of June and first few days of July planting tomatoes and peppers. These are trial plants and I admit this late planting will be a trial for them.
But I gave them their best shot. I planted them in Smart Pots and placed them in the bed where I usually grow tomatoes and peppers. And I mixed in Espoma Tomato-tone with the soil when I planted them. They are in pots because it’s a small space and I’ve planted these veggies there for several years. Using the pots is a modified crop rotation. It removes the plants from an area where there could be disease or insect problems building up. I’m still trying to figure out how to support the tomatoes when they are in these pots.
I’m trialing a couple of new Wave petunias, and Proven Winners’ Rockin’ Blue Suede Shoes, a hybrid similar to Black and Blue salvia, all in the ground. There also are some new perennial salvias, including a couple more in the Marvel series. Unlike many hardy, perennial salvia, this series from Darwin Perennials blooms all summer. The Rose Marvel Salvia is fantastic. Some of the Marvel salvias were in garden centers this spring and are available at online retailers.
Crops of several species of weeds are thriving in my back yard. All that rain. And a while back, several plants were pulled out, including shrubs, which exposed a lot of soil. I remember Claudia West’s talk two years ago at the annual Newfields Horticultural Symposium. The co-author of Planting in a Post Wild World, she seared in my brain that plants are programmed to cover the soil. Weeds are opportunistic, so they are just doing their job. Give them bare soil and they will take hold.
As hot and humid as it’s been, I only “allow” myself about 15 or 20 minutes outside pulling weeds, planting, watering, mowing the lawn, before returning to my home’s cooler environment for another 15 or 20 minutes. I also drink a lot of water.
I usually wear white, long-sleeved shirts (Goodwill purchases) when I work outdoors, a straw hat and sunglasses. Something must have imprinted on me in my youth because my grandfather, a greenhouse grower and florist, also wore white, long-sleeved shirts.
Last year my dermatologist found a couple of spots – one on my arm and one on my back – that “had abnormal cells.” Although it wasn’t skin cancer, the area could possibly turn into that, so the spots were removed.
I told her I didn’t usually wear sunscreen but rather the shirt and hat and she said that really was just as good. However you protect yourself, just do it, and get yourself checked regularly.