We have some success!!! I watered deeply two nights ago after a high 80's day (which also happened to follow a couple of dry dry days), and then yesterday it was 91.. didn't go out to check anything because it was just too hot for the kiddos. Went out this AM before it gets too too hot, and to my very happy surprise, we have tomatoes!!! One plant (the slightly smaller plant that did not have the megabloom - we'll call it mater #2) had one little guy growing, and the big guy, mater #1 has 3! I know it doesn't mean much yet; they're about as big around as a pencil. I'm just excited to see my plants aren't dying. So, we went around and gathered some tall grass/dried grass clipping clumps to use as mulch (I forgot my gloves at the house, or I would have mulched with the old yucky straw that's in the garden), and generously bedded those babies down. It's going to be hot again today (maybe 87-89), so hopefully everything will be okay until I can get out by myself to water tonight. (I water from the creek, and don't want the kiddos near when I'm filling the jugs for safety reasons).
Also, the squash is starting to vine out. When it grows it grows fast! The greens are all doing well, the carrots have set true leaves, and the beets are growing out too. There's a lot of crowding going on unfortunately, so I don't know how many will really turn out, but if we can grow even a couple for hubby to snack on in a salad, he'll be happy. The sunflowers are also doing well. The only thing not doing well is the chamomile in the garden which I think just got too wet and has kind of disappeared. The chamomile and basil on the porch are doing okay, need some water, but growing slowly. Ah, and the marigolds in the garden are really shooting up now. Soon the garden will be covered in orange. If they make it that far... I'm just a little excited to see some progress after a slow, iffy start.
I'm planning to start making some notes about what to start indoors next year, what to direct sow/when, what conditions things seem to be doing good in, etc. If everything works nicely this year in the native soil/bagged topping deal I have going, I will probably till it all in after the season's end (depending on any fall crop I try), and maybe work out another bed for next year to start up now. I've been saving food scraps for compost, but we have a skunk around here somewhere and some whistle pigs (ground hogs as I always called them until we moved to the South... hehe), amongst other critters, and they seem keen on getting into the trash and rooting through the food scraps I've thrown out in the brush... so maybe compost for now will have to wait.
Ah, lastly, we saw this beautiful caterpillar while we were gathering grass for mulch. Last time we saw a beautiful tent caterpillar (a shame it's a pest, I guess..), and this time I can't seem to determine what kind it is. It was crawling around under a pine tree on some leaves. (See photos.. maybe someone knows?)