August 7th, 2008

Melons, Schmellons and More Schmellon Melons

bio_lesliedHi All, Leslie in Las Vegas here.

Boy, have I got melons, and they ’schmell’ soooo good.  Melons and bowls of melon balls are making their way across the street to the neighbors and various folks we know and I am a very popular girl again this summer.  The spring planted melons growing up the fencing are starting to ‘poop-out.’  But the melons planted a few weeks later to grow over the ground are looking magnificent.  Their vines are mixing nicely with New Gold Lantana and White Sweet Alyssum and making a lush and pretty ground cover display.

This has been a great year for the veggies, and the eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are still producing heavily.  The squash got wiped out by squash bugs so I removed all but 2 plants.  One has not been affected by the bugs and the other that I cut back nearly to the soil line is struggling to grow again . . . I am waiting to see what happens.

My daylilies have all finished their first bloom.  I probably won’t see another bloom from any of them for another month. I have been removing their dead outer leaves and poking a cup of organic vegetable fertilizer in the soil next to them.  I do this at night when it’s cooler . . . when it cools down to around 90F.  They will bloom again, probably in September and later.

This is a picture of a daylily seedling I hybridized, it bloomed for the first time a couple weeks ago. I think this one is a keeper so, now I’ll plant it in the garden and let it grow out.

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I’ve also taken dozens of cuttings of this Dallas Red lantana and I’m rooting them to place in other areas of the garden.  It grows similar to New Gold lantana and each plant will cover about 20 to 30 feet of soil surface to act as a living mulch.  I love the bright red.  Behind this Dallas Red lantana are Tropicana canna, rosemary and white sweet alyssum.  A frilly, fancy petaled yellow daylily, I recently transplanted on the lower right of the red lantana, is just starting to to grow again.

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It’s been a particularly hot summer and I don’t remember more than a couple of days where the temperature has dropped below 105 in months.  Desert folk are used to temperatures in the ‘teens’, as they are called by the locals.  They say, “Whew! It’s in the ‘teens’ again today.”   There’s no need to mention the one hundred.

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Here’s a picture of my gardening workshop taken on July 19th.  Bill and I set up 4 shade canopies where people could get some relief from the sun, but it was still in the “teens” (whew!), when we finished at 10 a.m.  I fixed a ton of lemonade . . . and it was very popular during the workshop.  Lots of people went home with veggies from my garden and new hope to grow these in their own desert gardens.  That’s me standing under the umbrella with a pool of sweat puddling at my feet.

Las Vegas is really a nice place to garden in spite of the sizzling heat.  I think we have fewer insect and disease issues to deal with that occur in a more humid climate.

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