Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Thunder Moon

Big difference from last July. I actually still have a lot of green in the garden!
I'm really regretting not caging my tomatoes this year. I was just lazy, and they were so stunted last year they didn't need cages. Well, they would have really helped this year. My garden has become a tangle of vines, especially on this side, with tomatoes, melons, squash, and beans all jumbled together.

The squash isn't looking that great. I still haven't seen any squash vine borers, so I don't know if all the wilting is because of them or the heat. No fruit on them either. I hope they manage to pull through the summer and get some fruit in the fall. That's what my cushaws did in 2010 and I ended up with a great harvest (I still have some in the freezer).
Look! I have one melon! I haven't grown melons in a while, and hope this one makes it. Homegrown melons are really good. They're always much sweeter than store-bought.

The Rattlesnake pole beans are doing great, after going a couple of years without good beans from the garden. I'm out of seed, and I've been getting plenty of green beans from my CSA, so I'm letting these grow to maturity to replenish my seed stock. I'm also curious to see how much dry seed I get from this planting, because I'd like to start growing my own dry beans.

My other legume, Pinkeye Purple Hull cowpeas, are doing OK, I guess. They're starting to dry up, so I hope that's because they're about done with their life cycle, and not because they're not getting enough water. I'm trying to save seed from these too.

Another consequence of letting my tomatoes sprawl, besides the clutter, is that it leaves more of the fruit vulnerable to sunscald. The plants lying over on the ground like this means there's less of a leaf canopy directly over the fruits. I've lost a lot of tomatoes this way.

But not all is lost. I'm still getting a pretty decent crop of tomatoes. Here are some Arkansas Traveler tomatoes I picked right after taking this picture.

The peppers are doing well too. I've been picking a lot of Emerald Giant bell peppers, Lemon Drops, and mystery peppers, and have just started picking ripe Chile Negros and Cascabels. I have had a little trouble with sunscald on the peppers too, especially the Emerald Giants. Maybe next year I should give them some support too.

The Boothby's Blonde cucumbers were disappointing. I think this may be more of a pickling variety, because the cucumbers didn't get very big before they started turning yellow and bitter. Or maybe it's the weather. I don't know, but I only got a couple of edible cucumbers and now they're just wilting in the heat.

I've harvested some of my garlic now, but am giving my two hardneck varieties, German Extra Hardy and Siberian, more time. I dug up a GEH about a week ago, and it hadn't formed a bulb at all. I hope they manage to form a little bit of something.

My fall tomatoes are doing OK so far too. I just put them in individual pots. I ended up with three Arkansas Travelers and nine Cherokee Purples. I'm going to try planting them after the spring tomatoes die.

The basil is still waiting to be planted out too. I'd better get it done soon. I've already had to prune them back once. I was going to plant them where the garlic used to be, but it's taking longer for it to finish than I expected, probably because of it getting set back because of being transplanted.

Overall, this summer has turned out to be much less horrible than last summer, so far. I hope we don't get another summer like that again for a long time!

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