Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post -- and now it's almost mid-August. Where's the summer gone?
My little patio garden has been thriving, but really all that's left are the three tomato plants in one pot, a container of blueberry plants (which don't look very good right now -- most of the leaves are turning brown; I never did add anything to acidify the soil), a container with two marigold plants and a container of zinnias (which also contained my daisies, but they died back after I cut the flowers). The last container is growing lettuce seeds that finally saw the light of day after the bean plants were pulled out. There's one lonely beet plant in that container, too.
It's been ungodly hot here. I think the temps broke records on several days last week -- over 100 degrees with a heat index in the 110s. Incredible, blast-furnace heat. I can't take the dogs for walks, because they're heat-absorbing black and they're low to the ground, so all the heat reflected off the sidewalks hits them in the bellies. We get about 10 feet from the door and they're both panting and ready to come back in. Doodlebug's vet has told me to keep him out of the heat as much as possible -- he's really lost quite a bit of fur due to the Cushings disease, and he has no protection from the sun. I had to take Chelsea to the vet for a very scary faux-death experience on Monday, and the vet we saw then said the same thing about her, but because she's old, not because she's losing fur.
I came home on Wednesday to find this: [NOTE--I just realized I don't have a photo to put here, and it's very dark outside now. I'll add the photo of the toppled tower tomorrow.)
I'm amazed at how much these tomato plants grew in this container, and I'm surprised the supports held up as long as they did. Right now the plants are still sprawling all over the short hedges in front of my patio, and short of pulling up the plants, I really can't do anything about it. They're all over 10-feet tall, and they're too heavy to lift by myself. The supports on these containers really are too flimsy for indeterminate tomato plants, and I should have known that -- I've grown tomatoes for years, for pete's sake. Next summer I'll try something else to keep the plants upright. For now, I'm just going to let them go. One of the main vines broke about halfway through the stalk, but the top of the vine doesn't show any signs of wilting. I have dozens of green tomatoes on the plants, so I'll just let everything ripen and see what happens. Because it's been so hot at night, they aren't setting new fruit. If the plants survive the topple, they should start producing again when nighttime temps are below 70. If this fall is anything like last fall, these plants should produce almost until November.
A huge downside to all this is that I've lost the wonderful privacy screen that was formed by this container of plants. I have tall hedges on one side of my patio that block the view from the street, and this plant blocked most of the view of the "active" side of my patio -- where my glider sits and where the table and chairs are. I enjoyed sitting outside much more when I didn't feel on display to the main street. I guess it isn't too early to start planning for next year ...