Archive for September, 2013

A late summer recap

After days and days of drought, the rain is finally coming down this morning, Sept. 17. Sigh. The lost opportunities.

This has been one of the toughest gardening years I can remember. And that’s saying something, considering our first big garden year was an epic drought in 1988. That was the year people first began to take seriously a thing called global warming.

This year, though. So many problems. Prolonged drought and heat wave right at the time that most things matured. Influx of sap-sucking bugs. And then we had a cold, wet spring that got everything off to a very late start. Even the seedlings we put in the basement somehow didn’t want to grow this year. Suppose they knew something?

All summer long, everything has been about a month behind schedule. Usually I would have picked two or three bushels of tomatoes and had them canned by late August. This year we are only a week or so into peak picking. I can’t remember a summer when the tomatoes have been this late.

But we’re thankful they’re here at all, given the drought(s), the pressure from drought-loving insects and the weak start they got at the beginning of the year.

And we did, in fact, have some successes. The cucumbers finally did come around. I was just this close to pulling them all out in defeat, but then the laziness kicked in. Never pull something out unless you’re sure it has a virus. Or unless it’s all the way dead. In the case of the cukes, we put them out later than ever because of the cold, damp soil. When it then turned hot, they didn’t look like they were going to make it. But bounce back they did. And as a plus, we didn’t see any of the disease that causes them to wilt. That’s transmitted by cucumber beetle. So I’m thinking the late planting caused them to beat the bugs’ life cycle.

Same with the tomatoes. They’ve been plagued with mites all summer long. They still look like hell, and I’m sure we’re not getting as many as we would in a normal year. But by golly we’re getting something, so it wasn’t a total loss.butterfly

There are a few things that have been an unqualified success. Basil, which I didn’t even bother to plant until the second week of June, is now about chest high and looking good. Kale, which I almost forgot about and then direct-seeded into an empty spot at the last minute, has been beautiful all summer long. Same with parsnips. And malabar spinach. Don’t get me started. It’s like an alien life form trying to take over the southwest quadrant.

Of course, we protect ourselves by mulching and using the soaker hose to water, and trying to plant heat- and drought-resistant plants. In the end, though, you do what you can and be grateful for the outcome.

And hope for next year.

Posted by: Roxie



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