The Garden -
July has been a tough month. Like much of the nation, we've been under the grip of a heatwave that just won't let go. We have had over two weeks of temperatures well in the 100s and very little rain. When I walk across our now beige-colored lawn, it sounds like I'm stomping on corn chips.
Our poor garden has suffered as a result. We've been watering daily, but there's only so much 110 degree weather that a plant can take. Compare these photos to my last garden update.
The beans gave up the ghost a bit earlier than they would have. Thankfully, we harvested a ton of beans before the heatwave hit. That sprawled out mess towards the back of the photo and under Hubby Dear's finger is our potatoes. We had a lot of wind one night that toppled them over. They are still alive, however, and have even sent out new green shoots. We're just letting them be and keeping our fingers crossed.
Tomatoes refuse to set fruit in this kind of weather, and the fruit that they already have ripens slowly. The local paper reported that when nighttime lows are consistently in the upper 80s and nineties, it messes with the plant's metabolism. Same thing with the peppers.
We're still battling the occasional hornworm . Mini Me is traumatized for life after hornworm "juice" sprayed on her as Hubby Dear squished one of the little buggers.
Our corn has fared the worst of all. The second and third boxes have pretty much stopped growing. If we had planted our corn just a week or two earlier, it probably would have been mature enough to weather the blistering heat. Oh well.
Our Baby Pam pumpkins are ripening much faster than expected. They should have another month of growth, but the fruit is turning orange and the vines are starting to die back. We'll see what happens.
The blackberries weren't bothered by the heat. They just keep giving their glorious, juicy berries. The success of the berries is sweet consolation.
Hubby Dear has begun planting the fall garden. He delayed it slightly in the hope that it will cool down a bit and give the seeds a chance to germinate.
Other July Preps -
-Woohoo! We finally have a year's supply of wheat and pasta! I also bought oats, popcorn, sugar, rice, and flour and packed it all for long term storage in mylar bags and buckets.
-Speaking of mylar bags, I won't be buying mine from Emergency Essentials anymore. This last batch they sent me was more plastic-y, if that makes sense. I immediately noticed a difference in the way they felt. When I went to seal the bag with my iron, the bag melted and ripped instead of sealing. Not cool! I'll be buying my bags from a different vendor from now on.
-I have been busy preserving what produce managed to survive the heat. I've frozen green beans, green bell peppers, jalapenos, and blackberries. I've canned massive amounts of blackberry jam and some dilled green beans. I used my Excalibur to dry parsley I gathered from my herb garden.
-Miscellaneous food storage: I also added several cans of ghee, evaporated milk, vinegar, maple syrup and brown sugar.
-I added some more freebies to my BOB - floss, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner.
-I haven't killed the aloe plant I bought. In fact, it seems to be thriving. Also on the first aid front, I bought some cold packs and gauze for cheap using coupons.
-I'm loving my Bosch mixer! It easily handles multiple batches of whole wheat bread dough.
-I haven't nailed down exactly what I'm doing or purchasing. I definitely will continue to work on our food storage. I need to buy more oils, cereal for our three month supply, dry milk, and other food storage essentials. I should really be canning more meat, but I will wait until after my heavy canning months.
-We're going to keep plugging away in the garden. I'll be canning/freezing/dehydrating the harvest and posting about that. I'm praying that the heat lets up and that our tomato harvest is bountiful. Hoping for some cucumbers so I can make my grandma's cinnamon pickle recipe. You can keep track of my totals in the "Harvest 2011" sidebar on the righthand side of my blog.
-Hubby Dear and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary with a weekend trip to the big, big city. We're going to investigate the Cabela's store near the B&B we're staying at. Nothing says romance like fishing lures and ammo! ;)
-Not exactly a prep, but kind of, and very important: we start our homeschool year on August first.
How has the weather been in your locale? What have your done to prep this month?