Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Fast growing plants are generally fun to watch (although the amount of water they require is not so fun...).  Luckily, Colorado's desert west is not under restrictions this year.  Even in official drought years, our city has never had to resort to any kind of watering restrictions.  Though there is water available, I live in the part of the city that does not have access to "irrigation" water, so the water comes from the tap.  I have noticed a lot of people's yards go completely neglected since the beginning of recession.  Our area was slow to feel the impact at the beginning, but likewise slow to feel the recovery the media keeps talking about. ^^;  Personally, I'm ready to switch to artificial grass for the front yard.  I've never been a big lawn enthusiast (Hate to sound sexist or to overgeneralize, but that seems like a guy thing.), so I would have no problem having more water to use on flowers and edibles by not having live lawn.

This photo was taken on July 20th.  Just about all of the sunflowers along the fence have reached the 4-foot-tall top railing of the fence.  Now that they're getting drip irrigation throughout the day, they're growing fast.

The first sunflower along the fence to bloom was a red one.  We planted a mixed row of 5 different packets of sunflower seeds at the end of May.  Felt so behind our neighbors when we started seeing sunflowers blooming in June.

A lemon yellow one beginning to unfurl on July 20th.

The same one, fully open on July 23rd.  8 inches across.  Bees seem to love sunflowers.

I measured the tallest sunflower this morning and it is now at 6 feet.  2 feet above the top railing of the fence.  And officially taller than I am. LOL   It looked kind of sparse when I thinned them out, but now they seem almost crowded again.  Some of the varieties (the red ones and the lemon yellows shown above) have lots of buds setting, so we will be seeing a lot more flowers.  The mammoth sunflowers still show no sign of buds.  The leaves keep getting bigger and stems are growing thicker every day. :D  I hope they get large this year.  I've only had moderate success with those mammoth ones as our soil below 6 inches or so is stubborn clay - extremely poor gardening soil.

German Queen tomato (heirloom variety) is doing well alone in the backyard far away from the garden boxes.  It is getting drip irrigation as an extended part of the sunflower fence.  This plant is now over 4 feet tall.  The protection of the chicken wire fence material is 4 feet tall here.

Looked closer at the plant and found these fruits growing. :D  I can't wait to get fresh tomatoes from the garden!!  I love making sandwiches with fresh, just-off-the-vine, sun-warmed tomatoes, lettuce, cukes, and mayo.  None of my family members understand why this is such a big deal for me, but they're simply missing out on something truly special.  Well, that's my humble opinion. :D

Meet my new fairy in the garden.  This is Fiona.  I didn't name her.  She came named by the manufacturer.  I found her on eBay and just had to have her.  Here, she's lying in front of the fever few clusters.  (I like moving her around...)

And this is Ilana.  She's sitting on the frame of the garden box.  She's surrounded by alyssum, pansies, and chocolate mint here.  I see her accidentally fallen off the edge in the morning a lot.  No doubt the works of the kitties... ^^;  Anyhow, there are several more in the series, and I hope to add more to the collection.

Just to the right of Ilana in the garden box is this pink monarda.  At first we saw purple blooms, but they're done blooming, and now we're seeing this light pink flowers from the same cluster of plants.  I'd like to divide them later in the season and plant them elsewhere in the garden, too.  These guys have really taken off this year and they're 4 feet tall...  I think it's taller than the label said they were going to be.

I think this tomato is called Goliath, and it was supposed to be a good container/patio tomato.  This one is in the summer veggies box with broccoli and eggplant.  The fruits are finally getting bigger.  Although with 100+ degrees heat now, I've noticed a sudden decrease in flowers.  Getting too hot, maybe?

Also small in stature is my Indigo Rose tomato.  My daughter asked me, "Are these grapes? What is up with this?"  LOL  Yes, the fruits on this tomato plant are about the color of the concord grapes!  Once ripe, they begin to get the tomato red color on the bottom of the fruits, but they look prettier with purple/green combo.  Fruits are cherry tomato size.

We've begun free ranging the three young pullets two days ago.  The little girls are almost 12 weeks old and fully feathered in, so we thought we'd supervise and see how things go. First day, we let them out about 30 minutes before dusk and they've successfully put themselves back in the coop.  Second day, we let them out about an hour before dusk.  We're gradually extending the amount of time.  The first day, we saw some hostility from the older ladies, as expected.  Fiona challenged Mocha (the largest of the three younguns), and they went into a brief chest-bumping match - nothing too excessive.  Fiona's neck feathers were all ruffled.  I didn't know she could do that. :D  She seemed to be satisfied with the results and didn't bother the younguns afterwards.  At least, they don't mingle closely enough (They are in two distinct groups out there, occupying different areas of the backyard.), so there's no pecking or constant harassing going on.  I think they're off to a good start.  At least, as good as we can reasonably expect from them.  ^_^

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