My mom asked me today how my garden is coming along. Wistfully, I said that once the tomatoes start petering out I all but lose interest. Fresh home-grown tomatoes are my drug; the more I get, the more I want. July’s record-breaking heat wasn’t kind to my tomatoes, nor to my garden in general. We had days and days of 100+ temperatures, and most days it easily hit the mid-90’s. The information I get is that most veggies drop their blooms when the temperatures hit 90+ degrees, so my great expectations dwindled when it was 103 degrees one day and I noticed no blooms on my tomatoes.

HIT: Thankfully, due to a freak of nature, I had literally hundreds of volunteer tomato plants sprout from the compost I spread out this spring. I used as many as I possibly could, and left some in the flower pots in which they appeared hoping that I’d find space to transplant them later. I’ve been pulling up dead brown tomato plants and replacing them with the volunteers, so if August is somewhat kind then I may get a nice crop of late tomatoes to cheer me up. (I read that you should immediately pull up and destroy volunteer tomatoes because they could be harboring diseases. I didn’t do that; my thought process is that if these seeds survived the compost pile, they must be pretty hardy).

MISS: the bunch of sweet potatoes I bought to plant in June were way too many for the garden space I had available. Not able to throw them in the compost bin, I planted 3 extras in a large planter where I had already planted a moonflower vine. As the two plants are related and the leaves and vines so similar, I envisioned the moonflower climbing the post of my gazebo and the sweet  vines flowing out around the pot. 2 days later a raccoon came and dug up 2 of the sweet potatoes – see the dirt on the deck? I noticed that one potato vine made it, but it hasn’t flourished. Oh well, maybe I’ll get a tater or two out of that pot in the next month or so.

HIT: The raspberry bushes I transplanted last fall against the fence, volunteers from the established bushes, are setting fruit for a fall crop. I serendipitously bought 3 raspberry bushes 3 years ago that fruit both in the spring and the fall. Since raspberries are my very favorite fruit I’m pleased that these did so well. And these extra bushes were FREE! Muhahahahaha

MISS: The sunflower house I pictured as a 10′ tall oasis for my grandson is only 5′ tall. Since the seeds were the same ones as I gave my neighbor for the same project and HERS is gorgeous, I have to admit that my half-hearted effort to plant it too late and not give it any care didn’t help foster its success. I have to admit defeat and acknowledge that I’m a total failure at being the coolest-ever grandma. {{ sigh }}

HIT: Brick patio flower volunteers. I live in the country. I’m not on the garden tour. My neighbors already know I’m quirky, so I just let the surprise zinnias and red salvia that popped up between the bricks on the patio stay and survive if they could. They reward my as I shake my head and smile at unexpected successes. Imagine how hot those bricks are when it’s 105 degrees. Why can’t my pampered tomatoes take a hint?