gardening in the desert

Gardening is the desert is hard.  As if the intense heat isn’t enough, there are the usual suspects who steal the fruits of your labor: the ground squirrels, the birds, the dog, and the baby.   Wait a second – the dog and the baby????

Yes, the dog steals tomatoes from the vine, reducing the number of cherry tomatoes that make it into tomato-balsamic vinegar salad and other yummy things.  And the baby steals basil and any other herb she can get her little hands on.  (That’s my girl! I am secretly very proud of this!)  The ground squirrels take their lead from the dog and blatantly steal tomatoes – WHILE I AM WATCHING!  I kid you not.  And the birds, well, they just peek little holes in everything.

While my herbs, carrots, and peppers did fantastic as they do every summer, I was a bit disappointed.  I do realize our unrelenting heat made it difficult to produce much of anything in June and July, what with the added bonus of any fruits that did end up ripening were either taken by the aforementioned dog OR ground squirrel OR were so badly peeked by the bird that it was a lost cause.  My pumpkins were a joke.  This was the first year I tried growing any – and here’s the enormous size ONE managed to grow to:

What a huge lemon! No wait, it’s actually a pumpkin.  For size comparison…

Yup, that’s one of Sophia’s toy blocks.  That pumpkin is HUGE. Huge in terms of its smallness.   I planted more pumpkin and squash seeds in the hopes that something will grown there soon…

Even with the recent rains, my tomatoes are pathetic.  I’m not going to show a picture, because the only nice part about them is the tomato cages I painted.  I think it’s time to rip them out and get on with the autumn garden.  I harvested a ton of garlic earlier this summer and am curious about how the potatoes are doing, but haven’t been brave enough to do digging.  I don’t want to disturb anything good going on there!

I harvested about 40 very small pears from the pear tree, which is actually encouraging.  After cutting out the bit that were peeked by the birds, I have a nice amount for making a batch or two of scones.  This is the second year of the pear tree and I’m just thankful it’s alive.

My plum trees all died; one from fire blight (which was infected last year and I thought I cut all the infected parts out) and the other died from the ground squirrel bastards that live back by  the chicken coop.  If only my cats earned their keep…

I said I wasn’t going to post a picture of the tomatoes, but there they are.  Sad.  At least the cages are pretty! Autumn is always a more forgiving time here in Tucson.  I think it’s because we survived another summer of heat and come autumn, we tell ourselves it’s really not so bad.  And it’s not.  It’s just a tad too long sometimes.  And things really do a great job of growing all autumn and winter, so we forget how hard it is to make anything survive the heat.  It makes you amazed that people survived here before swamp coolers.  And I am so grateful this year for our air conditioning/heat pump. What a treat it is to come in out of the blistering heat into coolness!

I think it’s time to begin planing the autumn garden. At least the evenings and early mornings have had a bit of chill in the air.  Early mornings courtesy of Miss Sophia…who has not been sleeping OR napping well lately.  Another growth spurt…and yet another sign of change in the air.

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One thought on “gardening in the desert

  1. We are in the same boat with the garden and the baby. I got maybe 10 tomatoes off my plants 3 green beans and 1 soft ball size pumpkin back in june. Last night I went out and ripped up all the old plants. I’m moving on to fall planting as well….

    My Sofia is not sleeping well at night either. She doesn’t wake up but complains and moans all night. Nothing seems to be the matter though, just less sleep for me.

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