Jul 15, 2014

July Garden

The garden always looks best in July, before the powdery mildew and blight sets in and makes the plants look ill and stringy. Right now everything is green and lush and growing rapidly.

The tomatoes are tall with thick stalks and covered in flowers and tomatoes. It’s a giant mass that reminds me of our first year in the garden when the tomatoes grew taller than 6 feet, it was wild. We had our first tomato of the season, a bloody butcher (which are earlier than others). It was delicious of course. Soon we’ll be inundated with tomatoes - I can’t wait.

The cucumbers are growing like crazy, they are so thick and wild I’m constantly pushing them back onto the trellis. There are tons of flowers and teeny cucumbers, as long as the powdery mildew holds off this should be a great season. The carrot plants look good, my one musk melon vine is finally starting to grow. The watermelon vines are enormous and taking over, though there are no signs of flowers yet.

The zinnias are blooming and look beautiful. They aren’t very tall yet but I know by the end of the end of the summer they will be taller than me. I’m filling vases up inside and they are quite charming. Only two snapdragons survived the pill bugs eating the sprouts and they don’t seem to be doing very well. The two experimental sunflowers I planted are HUGE, it’s pretty wild. And lastly the dahlias are blooming and we’re enjoying those flowers inside and out.

The herbs are all doing well, the basil isn’t doing as well as last year but I think it’s the heat. The peas died off when the intense heat kicked in, but I knew it would be a shortened season for them since I got them in so late. We still enjoyed quite a few and the green beans are now taking over the strings. Half my lettuce shot up in the heat, but the more heat-resistant variety I planted is still going strong. The swiss chard is also doing well.

The strawberries this year were fantastic. We had enough dry days (low humidity and less rain) that almost all of the berries ripened beautifully. We had a ton of strawberries this year and it was wonderful! As soon as the strawberries ended we moved right into the raspberries. After such a brutal winter, we had more die-back than usual on the existing raspberry canes, so we had fewer blooms this year than in years past. The raspberries we did have were delicious and wonderful though! Next up will be the blackberries, any day now they are set to ripen.

The lemon and lime trees are covered in little lemons and limes from their second blooming, plus a few larger ones from the first bloom time. Hopefully the larger fruit will ripen soon and we’ll enjoy the rest in the fall. The fig trees are healthy and growing in the back. The Chicago Hardy is still compact, but it has to build its root system this year. The Brown Turkey Fig tree has been rapidly growing since it came back up from the ground. Since it died back all the way, I’m not expecting any fruit this year.

Peppers (in pots)
The patio peppers are doing well, they are growing and blooming and producing peppers. We’ve already harvested two jalapeno peppers.

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