We are basking in the humidity left behind after the remnants of hurricane Isaac passed through our area. We were blessed by 2 1/2 inches of badly needed rain. The soil is soft, the grass is growing. The Texas blue sage is blooming out in the Petite Prairie. The honey bees are visiting it right now.
Out in the garden, one can hardly tell how stressful the weeks of drought and heat were. The real evidence of that was my $150+ water bill….
You can tell there was stress when you get close up to the beans and the tomatoes. If I wasn’t involved in watching the Giants play the Cubs, I’d be out there pulling the beans out. They were pretty much a bust this year. I may try bush beans next year, they seem to tolerate heat and drought better than pole beans.
However, the bed right in the front of that picture is where the potato patch that the ants decimated used to be. I planted it to a green manure crop of buckwheat, which is ready to be turned in. I’m not doing that just yet because the blooming buckwheat is a food resource for my honeybees, who haven’t had a lot of great nectar and pollen sources available lately. Right at the very front is the sweet potato bed, which apparently is not nearly so attractive to the ants, as it is doing quite well. Or one of the patches, I should say. I sort of stick them in wherever there is space, so in addition to having them in the bed by the gate, there are three plants stuck in behind the carrots and beets. In the photo they are hiding behind the asparagus patch. In addition to not being ant food, at least not yet, the sweet potatoes are very heat and drought tolerant, probably because they really are a tropical plant, native to Central and South America.
If you go over behind the asparagus, you discover that the vines have gotten large enough and old enough that they are blooming. Sweet potatoes are members of the genus Ipomoea, which is also the family that contains morning glories. You can really tell they are related when you look at the blossom.
The vegetable garden is not the only place that I have sweet potatoes planted. I also have them in the whiskey barrels next to the pergola. Rather than plant the ornamental sweet potato vines sold at the garden centers, I prefer to have something that will also provide me with something to eat. I find the “plain” sweet potatos to be quite ornamental as they drape themselves over the edge of the barrels. They share that space with a purple hyacinth bean, which climbs the pergola and disports itself amongst the wisteria vines, much to the joy of the hummingbirds, who seem to prefer the bean blossoms above everything else except possibly the canna lilies.
It makes a great view from my kitchen sink, where I spend a certain amount of time washing dishes now that I have relegated my dishwasher to the status of under-counter storage. Of course, that is another story for another time.