Friday, September 2, 2011

Good Riddance Irene

      The hype for Hurricane Irene started at least a week before the storm arrived.  Unlike most storms however, she held pretty much to the anticipated path, which put Wilmington smack in the way of a big storm.  So preparations needed to be made to harvest veggies, move potted plants, tie down outside furniture, and clear off the porch.  I expected the gardens to be pretty much trashed, so I took pictures before Irene to compare with the later damage.

Backyard garden, 8/26/11

      The morning of Friday, August 26th, was misty and humid, lending an eerie feel to these pictures.  The sun flower in the background in the middle of the photo had finally had its first bloom on August 25th, the plant having grown to a height of about 12 feet!  Surely its days were limited with the hurricane coming in.  The plant was tied to a 4 x 4 pole at about the 5 foot level.  I expected it to break off there, as the sunflower plants are fairly brittle.

      The patio furniture was taken off the deck and tied to the ash tree.  The picnic table was flipped onto its back on the deck, and the little kids playhouse to the right of the picture was lashed to the maple tree.  A good move as it was to blow over in the storm, but it remained tethered to the tree.

Pre-storm back yard harvest, 8/26/11

      I picked most of the acorn squash for fear of them absorbing too much rain water.  Same for the white "Casper" pumpkin.  I was given the Casper seed, so tried it out.  The plant has been much hardier than the normal orange pumpkins, and looks to give me five or more nice little ghosts.  The cucumber plants have also lasted much longer this year, knock on wood.  The yellow tomato at the bottom right corner is "Dr. Wyche".  I was thrilled to see this first fruit develop, as I had grown Dr. Wyche last year from a gift plant.  It is a nice tomato, and I had unwisely failed to keep any seed from last year.  When a couple of volunteer plants popped up in the area where I had the plants last year, I transplanted them into the tomato row.  I now have two plants, and have already saved some seed for next year.  The tomato is big and meaty, has great flavor, and has an appearance that reminds me of a fruit like a mango.  Glad to have it back.
      It has been a good pepper year for me already, with many different varieties coming in.  The only hot one is the cayenne, and we actually ate one of the red ones last week and enjoyed it.  I found a recipe for green pepper soup which looks delicious, and am anxious to try that one.

Temporary indoor shelter

      All of the harvest from the porch had to be moved into the dining room.  The porch furniture came in too, and the shelves on the porch were put on their sides.  Now it is off to the park to document some shots before the storm.

Bellevue Park community gardens, 8/26/11

My Bellevue plot #84, 8/26/11

      Hurricane Irene finally hit on August 27th.  We in Wilmington were hit with 6 to 8 inches of rain, but did not seem to get the wind that had been expected.  We lost our power for 11 hours, just shy of the time to panic about our freezer.  The sunflowers at the park faired about as expected, with most of them toppled over or broken.

Bellevue Park, 8/28/11

My plot, 8/28/11

      The sunflowers on my plot got beat up pretty badly, and the pole bean trellis on the right side of this picture got snapped off.  It was repaired by strapping on a new upright to the piece still in the ground.  The beans seemed not to care, though there is a heavy infestation of Colorado bean beetles.  Unlike my peppers that have done well at home, there seems to be something at the park that kills off the plants at my plot.

My back yard sunflower, 8/28/11

      My sunflower out back made it through the storm without breaking or toppling!  Cindy and I went out the next morning as it was still quite windy, and put up an emergency 10 foot metal pole as support.  You can see the yellow crime scene tape put to good use.  For a couple of days the plant wilted as a result of too much water, but it looks to be recovering nicely.  The "too much water syndrome" has hit many of the tomato plants, so I think the tomato season will be downhill from here.  But overall, we were extremely lucky with what little damage we had.

This Casper made it fine on the vine, 8/28/11

1 comment:

  1. I just fell across your doorstep via Blotanical. Glad to hear that Irene didn't cause you too much trouble. Your gardens are lovely.