Saturday, July 3, 2010

The July Garden

June gloom is over! We are four days into July with temps in the mid to upper 80's. We really are at the mercy of Mother Nature and I'm not the only gardener in my area feeling the pain of a late start to our growing season. When walking the dog the other day I stopped to talk to one of my neighbors who has turned not only their back yard into a vegetable garden but their front yard as well. We were comparing notes and she was relieved to know it wasn't just their garden that was getting off to a slow start. She like I have only been at this vegetable gardening thing for two years now. The first year is all about beginners luck but you still go into the second year feeling a little cocky... then Mother Nature flicks you in the back of the head. Yes Mother Nature I know you are in control and there is nothing I can do about it.

Up until just yesterday I had no male flowers on any of my zucchini or squash. I had to pick a male crookneck bloom from the Haven garden to bring home and hand pollinate five female blooms. Hey you do what you gotta do. This time last year I had already harvested over 10 pounds of cucumbers. Total so far this year 12.3 ounces!

All of the following photos were taken this weekend.
Click on photos for a larger view.

Garden view from the roof.
July 2, 2010

Photos below: Bed 1. The tomatoes are suffering a bit in the heat. I put up shade cloth to give them some relief.

Not the prettiest thing to look at but it works great. The tomatoes did much better today.

Photo below: Brandywine tomato. The only disappointment with the tomatoes is the brandywine. One plant has two tomatoes and the other has nine. I'm thinking the poor performance is due to the weather.

 Photo below: The roma's on the other hand are putting out tomatoes like crazy. Two plants and they both have over twenty tomatoes with more on the way.

Photo below: Cherry tomatoes. This photo was taken on Friday. I have still not picked this seemingly ripe tomato and it continues to ripen. It just keeps getting deeper in color. I'm thinking the lesson here is patience. When you think it's ready to pick... give it a day or two more.

Photo below bed 2:   I wasn't sure what to do with this bed after I pulled the broccoli. I already had cucumbers planted so I put in one upright raven zucchini and two butternut squash.

Photo's below: English cucumber and baby cucumber.

Photo below: The raven zucchini is putting out both male and female blooms.

Photo below: I also gave bed 2 some shade. The cucumbers and lettuce seem much happier now.

Photo below: Between beds 1 and 2 is an arch with pole beans growing on it.

Photo's below: Bed 2

Photo below: Unlike the tomatoes the peppers are loving the heat.

Photo below: Just in case you were wondering how I'm still growing lettuce and carrots in this heat... Yes that is right, shade cloth. I'll pull the rest of the lettuce tomorrow morning.

Photo below: Moving on to bed 4...

Photo below: I was going to pull all the onions this weekend but noticed some of them were still putting some size. So again patience is the word of the day.

Photo Below: Bed 4 pole beans. I'm picking beans every other day from both the bush beans and pole beans.

Photos below: Bed 5 is planted with one acorn squash, one cucumber and three sweet potato. The acorn squash is putting out a lot of female blooms. I'm hoping to see male blooms soon.

Photo below: Sweet potatoes.

Photo Below: My June bearing strawberries didn't do much in June but are going crazy in July.

Photo below: In bed 6 I planted my first ever seed mats of carrots. I also made lettuce seed mats for later this summer.

Photo below: Seed mats covered and watered...

...shaded and protected from the squirrels.

Photo Below: Fun with onions. I put this next to one of the patio chairs... and yes I did... when my sweet husband was outside I walked out and screamed snake! He jumped! LOL I waited all day to do that.
Oh come on it was funny :-)

Photo below: Friday's harvest of  pole and bush beans, strawberries and the last of the raspberries .

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day!


  1. Well, I don't think you could have picked a better snake! You might better be looking over your shoulder at all times after that one!

  2. I honestly thought it was a snake, too!

    I've heard Brandywine are notorious for not producing much, but they're just so fantastic that people put up with them. Have you grown them before?

  3. Lisa - I know, right! what made it so funny is that we don't have snakes in our backyard. In over 20 years I have never seen one.

    Ribbit - Yes this is my first time growing BW and it is an Heirloom to boot. I have had lots of blooms just little fruit. At this point it looks to have stopped growing and no sign of more blooms coming unlike the Cherry and Roma that just keep putting out new growth. I'm thinking the weather was just to cool when it was blooming. I will try them again next season for sure.

  4. Beautifully planned garden and delicious looking produce, Liisa!

    We are in a long dry spell, with temperatures reaching close to 100 everyday this week. Last year we had too much rain and cool temps; this year has been very warm early and quite dry throughout mid to late June. This week's heat will really damage crops throughout the area.

    No matter how much I water now, it's never enough to last more than a day and a half, especially in the raised beds. I'm glad I'm just growing flowers this year!

    I'm going to make sure your husband remembers his run-in with that onion snake for a long time!

  5. You stinker ;-) The last time I yelled "snake!", it was a 6-footer, coming across our front porch, in AZ. Mr. Granny moved real fast.

    Your produce looks so nice, especially the strawberries. I was so happy with mine last year, but this year they're doing nothing. Mine are day neutral everbearing, maybe they'll start producing when (if) it gets warmer.

  6. It looks like everything is doing well despite the heat. I've noticed that my brandywines aren't performing as well as my other tomatoes either. Hopefully, the taste makes up for it.

    I'll have to try growing lettuce under shade cloth next year. Mine grow incredibly bitter weeks ago.

  7. Phil- That is the one thing I love about CA. Our temperatures very rarely get into the high 90's and 100's during the Summer. We may get a day or two a week at the most before it cools back into the 80's.

    Granny- LOL I remember you telling us about the snake in AZ. The produce has been slow coming in this year. I'm sure your strawberries will wakeup soon.

  8. Thomas- I'm still having issues with my comments. I did see your comment when I was at work but can't see it here at home. A friend posted the foloowing on my facebook "I heard that Brandywine grow better on the East Coast- around Maryland. They like those warm humid nights...really enhances the flavor." Well we have cool dry nights so not sure how my brandywines will do. But I'm willing to find out.

  9. Hey, at least you didn't have a hurricane to contend with! Everything's looking good...