I think we might actually have a harvest this year. Originally, I had started my seedlings indoors in April. And a day or two after I transplanted them in early June, we got a unexpected hail storm.
This thing took us all by surprise on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was the loudest storm we'd ever heard! We had to yell to one another to be heard over the noise pounding on the roof. (Which now has to be replaced.) The balls were one inch in diameter and they demolished my newly planted seedlings. :-( This is a shot of my son holding one of the hail balls.
My flower pots in the background were covered in "white" when the storm was over and I went and scooped as many out as possible, which must have helped because they survived.
A few days later, I bought some replacement veggie plants from Home Depot and I was delighted to find that they had heirloom plants! I got tomato, basil, rosemary, tobasco pepper, rhubarb, zucchini and yellow squash. This time my husband made some hoops from PVC pipes along the planter box and I bought some painters plastic. That did the trick. Every time it even looks like a storm is coming, we cover them up. They have grown to be nice BIG plants and they are starting to have some fruit on them!
The blue tarp at the top was what we tried using at first, but it was just too cumbersome to work with and it didn't let in any light. But I left it up there because it provided them a nice amount of shade when they were new and delicate. It also holds the hoops together nicely. Not the prettiest sight, but it works. :-)
I learned that plants also like epsom salts. Just a small amount mixed in some water and sprayed on the leaves. They love the magnesium in there I guess. But it made their leaves a deep rich green color. I am going to give them another dousing of that soon because it's been about a month since the last one.
|Basil, Rhubarb (and Zuchinni at the far end)|
Some tips I learned about growing tomatoes is they LOVE calcium. I ground up some clean, dry eggshells in an old coffee mill till they were a powder and put a handful in the hole and then the tomato plant on top and planted as usual. And plant them DEEP, covering the bottom two or three branches into the soil. Then once they are set, never let their above soil leaves touch the soil. EVER. This is how disease and rot spreads in them.
My zucchini plant is getting huge! I was so happy to see a bee buzzing around this morning pollinating all the flowers. :)
I also sprinkled some crushed eggshells around all the plants to ward off slugs. It's a raised planter (like 3 feet off the ground) so I doubt we'll see any slugs, but I'm ready for them just in case!
I also have some potted lobelia and petunias growing nearby that will draw some bees around so the vegetable flowers will get pollinated.