We have a dirty little secret here in coastal California, Summer starts in September around here. Hehehehe, just after most of the tourists have gone... We can finally sit outside in the evening without a jacket and no dashing indoors or lighting the outdoor heater the very moment the sun dips below the horizon and the fog starts its slow creep or mad dash inland.
Chalk it up to prevailing winds and water currents. In the months that most of us northern latitude folks call summer the prevailing winds and water currents conspire to create cold surface water temperatures (50's F) along the coast and thus plenty of cooling fog and breezes. But late summer brings a shift in the prevailing winds and that brings a halt to the upwelling of cold water along the coast. The water surface temperatures rise as high as 65F and the fog machine slows way down. That's the start of summer!
We had a couple of days of 100F weather last week and now we're having another warm spell in the 90F's. Last night the thermometer showed a low of 65F instead of the usual 50-something or lower. Most of the summer veggies are loving it!
Diamond eggplant, something nearing harvest size. Some of the early flowers survived the rabbit attacks.
Thai Round Green Petch Parisa eggplant, the happiest eggplant specimen in the garden. There are small green eggplant nearly large enough to harvest hidden in the foliage. I don't know why the rabbits didn't attack this plant.
Pimento de Padron, pumping out peppers. My new favorite way to prepare these are to roast them in a hot oven on a preheated cast iron grill pan (put it in the oven when you turn it on) for about 10 minutes, sprinkling some chopped pancetta over them for the last few minutes. I find it works best to turn each pepper about half way through. When I don't add the pancetta my honey looks at me and sadly says "just plain tonight?".
Marconi purple sweet peppers, starting to ripen. I'm thinking these will be good roasted and stuffed with a cheese filling.
Chilhuacle Negro, from Mexico, supposed to be good for mole, chili, and drying. These will ripen to a dark brown.
Aji Angelo, a relatively early baccatum pepper that ripens red and is supposed to be sweet with a medium heat, good for eating fresh.
Christmas Bell, not a bell pepper, another baccatum pepper. I chose this pepper to round out my order from Cross Country Nurseries, the description said it was useful as an ornamental. The first pepper ripened last week and I must say that it is more than just ornamental, it is delicious.
The first Chaco Canyon runner beans forming just above the "rat line".
Magdalena Big Cheese developing the first female blossoms.
This is an Italian herb, nepitella Calamintha nepeta, it is supposedly used to season mushrooms in Tuscany. It likes to volunteer in a modest way around my garden. The interesting thing here is that some of the branches on this plant are sporting white flowers, the lavender flowers are normal.
The female flowers on the Palace King cucumber survived the recent 100F heat and are now opening. There are male blossoms open lower on the plants. Cukes soon, I hope.
You can see the crispy leaf edges on the cucumbers from the recent excessive heat.
And the zucchini plants are getting a reprieve from the powdery mildew attack. The plants aren't as lush looking as a few weeks ago and there aren't as many flowers, but I'm still getting a fair amount of zukes.
And just to show that it is not all joy in my "Summer" garden...
Some of the tomatoes are not so happy. Paul Robeson is covered with crispy leaves but the tomatoes seem to be ok. Other plants have cripy leaves also.
The leaves on Aunt Ruby's German Green are yellowing and then turning brown and crisp. Again, the fruit seems to be ok. A few other plants look like this as well. All of the tomato plants are suffering to some degree.
Well, there are other sad looking things in the garden but I've chosen not to show all the blemishes. After all, I am celebrating the beginning of "Summer", Coastal California style.