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RDG 2010 update


The weather in Boston at the end of June and the beginning of July was brutally hot. There wasn’t any rain for two weeks and things were starting to droop. We resisted watering the vegetable garden for as long as we could, but finally gave in on the long July 4th holiday weekend.

Most of the plants in the GrowBed are doing great. The herbs have established themselves nicely. The basils seem to have something going on with the leaves. We are not sure what it is, but it does not appear to be the downy mildew issue which has been plaguing many of the local growers.

The zucchini plants have been flowering for a while, but we have not seen any zucchini yet. All of the tomato plants have flowered and many of them have fruits on the vine. Some of the cherry tomatoes are even starting to turn color. The only plant which has not taken off is the Winter Melon. Maybe it is the lack of water or maybe it takes a while for it to get going. As this is the first year for us with this vegetable, we are not sure what to expect.

The one plant which is loving the hot dry weather is the Passiflora. Over the past few weeks, it has really started to climb. There are multiple buds on the vine and some look ready to open. The same is true of the Gladiolus. A few red spikes have already started blooming, but the majority of them were still in the process of budding. All of the shade plants (HostasAstilbes) flowered in early July. The ferns got really big from the rain in May, but suffered a bit from the heat wave.

Fortunately, the rain finally came this past weekend. It rained so hard that part of Somerville was under 3′ of water! The heat and the heavy watering kicked the plants into high gear. Since the down pour, the garden has taken on an entirely different look. It seems like all of the plants are flowering at the same time.

The trumpet vine and the bamboo have both bounced back from the drought. Most of the EchinaceaBlack Eye Susan, and Day Lilies have also recovered nicely. The Zebra grass, which is pretty drought-tolerant, did not seem to notice the lack of water. We moved it a year ago as it was not doing very well next to the bamboo. This is the first year in its new spot and it appears to prefer the sunnier and less competitive location.

In the Spring, we planted around 120 Gladious bulbs. The plants started to flower at the beginning of the month and we noticed that some of the spikes had fallen over. Since there was nothing to lose, we cut them and brought them inside. We were pleased to discover that Gladious will continue to grow and bloom even when just sitting in water. This is our first year planting Gladious and we found it very easy and rewarding to grow. It is definitely a flower which we’ll continue to cultivate.

We are looking at a few different ideas for the RainyDayGarden for 2011. We would like to bring in more varieties of plants, especially ones with medicinal or other useful properties. One of the ways we are going to do that is to organize a a plant exchange in the Fall: bring a plant, take a plant. It may or may not be a part of the annual SausageFest. We’ll see 🙂

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