It is mid July, and it has become apparent what is and isn't working this year. The new lushness of June has worn off, and things that are going to look haggard are beginning to look... haggard. Last June was the wettest on record. We got a lot of growth, and not a lot of production. This year we are teetering on the brink of drought.
Things are still colorful and growing, and we have had a lot of successes so far.
The peas turned out well, but only because I planted half of them a month early. The ones planted with normal timing were a bit lackluster. But they still produced. I have a record amount frozen for winter, and I haven't decided whether to plant a fall crop or not. We'll see if I lose heart.
Carrots are doing fine. I planted those early as well, and we are bginning to enjoy them.
The root crops have been just great. The onions are doing quite well and are still upright and growing with very little fussing or manual watering.
The garlic did well also, and I now have more garlic than I will use, and have given some away. And of course, my potato pots were a success. I will begin digging the first row of potatoes next weekend.
The spring lettuce was outstanding and is sadly over and done. The romaine I planted under the pole beans didn't take to the idea. I yanked them up and transplanted them to a couple of pots which I've placed in the shade. They have survived their intial shock and outrage and have decided to make a go of it.
I even left a few cut off stalks in the lettuce patch which are shaded by the squash and have bought into the "cut and come again" theory of salad production.
My first row of cucumber which are nursery transplants are the first disappointment. When I pulled the peas away from this row they were by no means as robust as the vines given the same treatment last year. I am suspicious that they were mislabeled somewhere along the line because this looks a heck of a lot more like a pickling variety than a Marketmore. The few cukes have been short and stubby, but good enough. My second planting from Sweet Success seeds are much more true to form and producing well.
But some of the vines appear to have Anthracnose. And although I am used to seeing a cucumber beetle here and there each year, I have seen more than a dozen this year and have begun to squish them. They are now on to me and becoming shy of humans.
This is the first year I have tried the red plastic tomato mulch. Among other things, it is supposed to reduce soil born foliar diseases. Fail.
The Flea Beetles have been exceptionally hard on the eggplants this year. The diatomaceous earth had no visible effect on the numbers, so I began spraying them with a mixture of water, rubbing alcohol, and peppermint castille soap. That really sent them running. But they would be back the next day. I got too enthusiastic with my spray and burnt some of the new growth. **Sigh** If it's not one thing, it's another.
Some of the bell peppers appear to have picked up anthracnose too. It seems concentrated on one plant, and I suppose I ought to just pull it out and be done with it before it spreads.
But all is not lost. My first Brandywine tomato will be ripe soon, and the plant is healthy and producing well. I also bought a Paul Robeson which has over a dozen good sized green tomatoes on it and I am excited to see how they turn out. In addition to the few plants I bought, I had sudden "heirloom grower's remorse" over having not started any of my favorite varieties myself. I just wasn't keen on dealing with a month of having my dining room turned into a grow-op. Around May 9th, the remorse struck, and I started 4 varieties outside in the cold frame. The beauty of this is that the hardening off went like a breeze!
Granted, on the day the purchased Brandywine and Robeson looked like this...
The Jap, Absynthe, Annannas Noir and Dr. Wyche plants looked like this...
But they are now over half the size of their neighbors and setting fruit. Sure, they will be behind, but for ease of growing I'd say that was a big Win!
Despite their miserable appearance, the eggplants are soldiering on. They can be such beautiful plants when they are healthy, so their condition is distressing, but I'll still get to eat eggplant.
And the pepper plants not infected with anthracnose are healthy and producing well.
The pole beans, although sluggish from lack of rain
Are flowering and setting beans. Since I still have some freezer beans from last year, waiting is not quite so difficult.
And the geraniums in the front landscaping... Wow! They are gorgeous. Careful planting with compost, initial watering and fertilizing started them off well and they are providing so much color. Some plants have as many as a dozen blooms on them at a time. I will definitely be repeating this next year!