Aug 13, 2013

August Garden

This has been a really rough year for gardening. One thing after another, spring through summer. This has been my worst year yet, including raised bed gardening and container gardening (between the two I've been doing this for almost a decade now!).

When looking at the pictures, please ignore how badly the pathways need to be weeded. The only things in the garden that seem to be doing well are the basil plants and the weeds.

Last year, the zinnias were taller than me by August. This year, due to a late start (from 2 sets of seeds never taking), they are barely waist high. One dahlia died or root rot, the other is smaller than in years past. The snapdragons, thanks to the extra room/sunlight are doing better than other years, but overall this bed looks really pathetic compared to the past. I've barely gathered 3 bouquets worth of flowers this year!

The intense humidity and rain have spurred the powdery mildew on the cucumbers and melons. Luckily cucumbers love the heat so we've still had plenty. The melons have not fared so well, they are suffering and barely blooming because of the mildew. The zucchini and yellow squash are pretty much dead. The squash vine borers have struck again. In July we had a nice harvest, then everything withered.

After taking the pictures I pulled the vines up and threw them away to help break the cycle and get rid of any eggs growing on the leaves. I might not even plant these next year in hopes of further breaking the cycle. After doing some serious research, the only real organic cure for these are constant maintenance and checking for bugs, multiple times a day. This isn't feasible with a toddler.

Fewer tomato plants and larger starter plants from the nursery do not equal a better harvest and happier healthier plants when the weather is so lousy. Spotted mildew and blight have ravaged my plants this year. They are so thin and spindly compared to tomato plants from other years (from the nursery and from seed) that they can't even hold the tomatoes with support. We've had some delicious tomatoes, but this year has been terrible for heirlooms.

Beans, Chard, Herbs, etc.
This bed is a mixed bag. The swiss chard is surprisingly happy and we've eaten a lot of it. I love the colors too. And this year, for whatever reason, the basil is bigger and happier than I've ever seen it. Usually the basil struggles to survive an this year it's enormous! My oregano and thyme, which usually take over, are struggling. The beans that did survive the mystery bug eating the sprouts are growing surprisingly slowly. Even for a late planting, they should be doing more than showing their first blooms. It's a very odd year. Everything else that was planted in this bed has died.

Potted Peppers
The peppers are faring better than the raised bed garden, but still not as well as other years. We've only had a few jalapenos and I'm waiting on a single poblano pepper. The cayenne pepper however is doing great - we have harvested many and have a lot more growing.

Berries, Trees, Etc.
Once the strawberries were finished, in July the raspberries grew in abundance. Like the strawberries, there should have been many more but all of the rain and humidity, we lost some to rot before they even ripened. But there were so many growing, we still had an amazing harvest. Once the raspberries finished, the blackberries started up. While we haven't had issues with rotting, a major heatwave shriveled some of the berries and turned the rest of them very tart. Blackberries remind me of grapes - they need the right kind of weather to turn sweet. This year we're growing a bush of lemon-tart berries.

The fig tree is growing surprisingly tall, I'm pleased to see its progress. There's only one tiny fig growing on it, but I'm hoping next year it will be bigger enough to get a few!

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