Jul 11, 2013

July Garden Update

I have to say this is STILL a rough year for gardens. After multiple cold spells, we’ve had two blistering heat waves, ridiculous humidity and buckets of rain. We even had some plant-damaging hail. Our backyard is such a swamp that right under the rocky paths of the garden is standing water. It hasn’t been pretty.

Our garden is struggling this year under these conditions, but it’s still going.

We have a lot of spotted mildew already from the rain, but we still have a lot of tomatoes growing. Since we planted fewer plants this year it looks a little empty, but really this is probably a healthier setup for the tomato plants.

Cucumbers are flowering and growing up the trellis. The second planting of melon seeds sprouted and are continuing to grow. The zucchini and yellow summer squash are blossoming - hopefully this year we don’t have so many problems with squash vine borers...

Overall the flower garden looks pretty pathetic compared to last year. While my snapdragons are beautiful, one of the two surviving dahlias is wilting inexplicably (as you can see in the picture). The zinnias didn't come up at all with the first set of seeds and the ones from the second planting are a mixed bag. A few came up, but not many. It’s strange, this is the first time I’ve ever had trouble with zinnias. Until now I would have declared them one of the easiest flowers to grow.

Beans, Peas, Herbs, etc.
We ended up with a late but decent harvest of peas. They were delicious! I need to clear the vines that died in the heat, you can see them in the picture. Next year I’ll plant more. The rainbow swiss chard is beautiful and delicious. The herbs are thriving, except for the rosemary - it was doing well, then inexplicably dropped its leaves and shriveled. My carrots, despite a second planting of seeds, only had a few sprout. The garlic did well for a while, then just died back. The lettuce, despite new seeds and a second planting, never sprouted either. So strange.

I would have declared beans even easier to grow than zinnias. In years past they are prolific - one seed shoots up into a huge vine that produces more green beans than one could possibly eat. And this year? Every time a shoot sprouts from the seeds I plant, some bug comes along and eats it! Finally after a third planting, we have a couple of little sprouts... I’m not sure if these will get eaten or not - after this I’m giving up!

At least my peppers are doing very well. Ignore the obvious weeds in the photo, I should have picked them before the picture, not after!  I’ve already harvested several jalapenos and a big cayenne pepper. The poblano pepper plant is blooming now.

The fig tree came back to life in the spring and is thriving. It was its first winter so I wasn't sure. The burlap wrapping and leaf stuffing worked! There are plenty of leaves on it and it continues to grow taller. It will take about 3 years for it to fruit, so we have another 2+ to go.

My lemon and lime trees are also thriving. They both had a massive second blooming and plenty of new leaves sprouted once they were moved back outside. After a long winter and a long losing battle with resistant aphids, these two plants really came back to life outside.

We enjoyed a big strawberry harvest this year. We had tons of delicious red berries. But truly, it should have been even bigger. We have so many strawberry plants and so much fruit had set - but the massive amounts of rain rotted a lot of the berries before they even ripened. Yes there was still plenty to eat and we enjoyed it immensely, but under better conditions I could have made jam for the neighborhood.

The raspberries fared much better. And thanks to the cicada “invasion” providing the birds with plenty of other things to eat, they pretty much left these all for us. I was picking a large handfuls every day for almost 2 weeks, and at the peak - bowls full. It was amazing. The blackberries are now just starting to ripen - I can’t wait to enjoy these next! The new blueberry bushes will take some time to grow before we can expect a blueberry harvest - perhaps in a year or two. Until then we just have to satisfy the baby’s blueberry addiction from the store and farmer’s markets.


  1. Yeah, it seems it's been a little rough this year. So many bugs! My marigolds are being eaten by beetles, and the new buds aren't growing. I'm still waiting to have a summer with perfect weather.

    1. I'm glad it's not just me! I feel like this year has been particularly frustrating. Not that any year is perfect, but my easy plants just seem so hard this time around!