Garden and ranch journal, Sep 24, 2011

Weather: topped out at 92, according to the weather station here on the ranch. High humidity all day long, which made it feel like a sauna just stepping outside, not to mention what it felt like when there was actual work happening. About 3 PM, thunder rumbling in the distance, but no rain here at the ranch, and the skies to the east cleared by 5 PM.

Plants: the front crop of peanuts is starting to fall over, which means it’s nearly harvest and curing time for those. The spinach sowed in a couple of 4×4 frames in the front garden is coming up. All of the melons look terrible and should probably be taken out for compost. Still no new sweet basil seedlings from that direct sowing – the second direct sowing, in fact – which is very strange given that it usually grows like a weed.

Done: Weeded, a job that never seems to end. Transplanted 64 cherokee purple tomato plants from the flats, and 32 bell peppers. Reseeded more dud green beans. Ran drip irrigation in the final row of the back garden to replace the traditional irrigation that had been there. Topped the lemon and lime basils in the herb garden. Watered everything except the trees. Replaced one of the watering timers, which picked today to go crazy. Sliced open half a dozen used burlap coffee bags so they can be used for moisture and weed control around the transplanted tomatoes and peppers from today. Picked and tested some of the second round black eyed peas from the front garden. Relaid the black plastic mulch in the front garden that had blown around a bit. Checked for the spider that hangs around the front walkway on the siding, but couldn’t find her; her three egg sacs are still in place.

When you know it’s fall

It’s difficult to know when the seasons change here, as it can be rather abrupt (witness our move from about 80 as a high to a high of 100 in the span of three days back in “spring”). Just in time for fall, though, we have an actual slide into the season: instead of highs hovering right around 100, it’s hovering right around 90 instead. Still not enough of a “fall” for the garlic to be planted, but cool enough – relatively speaking – to get the second cropping of tomatoes and peppers in. This morning I set out 64 cherokee tomato plants and 32 bell pepper plants. There are more of each to plant, plus the brassicas, which I intend to use floating row cover on to keep the bugs away. Combine that with another round of weeding, running some irrigation, replacing one of the watering timers, and topping off the lime and lemon basils, and it’s been a productive day already. The benefit of starting off at sunrise is that it gives you a long day to get work done. Even with a break for lunch and working the business in between.

Garden and ranch journal, Sep 21-23, 2011

Servers conspired to keep me out of the garden and inside or at the NOC, including a marathon session at the NOC on Thursday. While working in the outer vestibule, a storm rolled through, with a quick, bright flash of lightning followed by a tremendous rumble of thunder that shook the front windows. Luckily I was in the one place guaranteed not to lose power while I was working on a balky server.

Weather: highs about 90, little rain. Last night again lightning and thunder in the distance, but bypassing the ranch. This means watering rounds on Saturday.

Plants: Saturday will be the attempt to plant out the flats. The forecast is for more of the same of this sort of weather, so the garlic planting will have to wait a bit, until the temps are consistently not hovering around 90 every day. This will also give me time to clear out two more frames that will eventually hold garlic.

Done: Nothing, alas, as I spent my days up to my eyeballs in servers, either putting in new ones or dealing with old ones. The week ahead will surely be better.