Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Garden in August 2012

There are a lot of photos in this post, not all of them all that interesting for you but informative for me in years to come. This post has been in the making for a week or two so there are photos taken on a couple of dates. I try to do a "tour" of the garden each month but didn't manage to do one in July, tsk tsk. Anyway, let's see what's going on in August this year.

Looking down on the two most productive beds this summer, the indeterminate tomatoes are overtopping their towers on the left. In the next bed over, the Neckarkönigin green beans and the Gigante runner beans have raced up and over the tops of their trellises and are in full production.

Finally, there's a color other than green in the tomato patch!


Sunshine Cherry

The Sweetie Baby romaine lettuces have all bolted, this photo was taken last week, now there's only a couple of heads left that I've not given to the chickens. The overturned nursery flats show where I tried to get more lettuce seedlings started, but most of them died, some in the beaks of birds and the rest under the suffocating heat of the row cover that I draped over them for protection from the birds... Ah well, the next generation of seedlings await. I'm letting them size up in containers in a more protected spot before I plant them out. The Parade scallions are still marching along the edge of the bed, they are getting to be a bit big but are still delicious and not yet showing signs of bolting. I am trying to use them up though.

Further down that bed is the burgeoning Lark's Tongue Kale, that's just 3 plants. It's been trimmed up quite a bit since this photo.

Lark's Tongue Kale

Here's one of the last shoots of Apollo broccoli which I harvested yesterday. The plants are trying to push out a few more small shoots and a couple of the plants are trying to push new shoots up from the roots. I've learned that it is best to just take the plants out and start afresh with new seedlings, the tiny shoots on the old plants never amount to very much. I've got some new plants all set to go now.

Apollo Broccoli

The birds weren't just dining on tender little lettuce seedlings, they also found the mature broccoli leaves to be tasty, as well as cilantro seedlings, cucumber leaves, and bean leaves. I tried hanging a few old CD's around the garden, but the strings didn't hold up and most of them fell to the ground. But I noticed that they really flash quite a bit just sitting on ground so I left them laying around some of the more sensitive seedlings. Then I remembered that I had a roll of Mylar flash tape sitting around so I hung strips of that along the fence all around the garden and on poles near the plants that the birds were pecking at. The birds really don't like the flashing light from the tape and I suspect that they don't like the sound that it makes as the breeze whips it around. So the birds are staying out of the garden for now, but something else has been nibbling at low growing plants, either rats or voles.

The bean row seen end on.

The Neckarkönigin beans have engulfed the pole that I strung some flash tape on.

There's a lot of beans hiding in the foliage.

The cucumber tower. Some of the vines are tied to the tower and others are allowed to trail over the edge of the bed.

Da Fiore zucchini, which is supposed to produce more male flowers but I haven't really noticed much of a difference from other zucchini varieties. That's ok, the zucchini is very tasty.

I've been struggling to get some edamame soy beans to grow. First I tried starting them in paper pots. I got great germination which was probably helped by putting the flat on a heat mat, but I let the plants grow in their pots too long so they resented being planted out and most of them died. Then I tried presoaking some beans and direct sowed them, but most of the seeds rotted. Then I made one more attempt to just push a LOT of seeds directly into the soil and some of them have germinated. I'm not sure that there are enough plants coming along to make it worthwhile to let them grow on. This is the quickest maturing variety that I could find seeds for. I knew that I would have to sow them relatively late to have them mature when we get our warmest weather in September and October, but they just don't seem to like getting a cool start. This July and even now in August we have had very cool nights with the temperature often dropping into the high 40ºF's and I suspect that the edamame just don't like that.

On the left in the photo below is a new planting of bush beans (the resentful edamame is on the right). This bunch is Fagioli del Purgatorio, a very small dried white bean that is great for making salads. The name comes from the custom of eating these beans for a "Purgatorial" lunch during Lent. I like to eat them any time I can get them. I hope we get our typical long warm autumn (summer, coastal California style) so that these beans can mature and dry properly on the plants. You can also see just a peek of the new patch of Rolande filet beans growing just beyond the Purgatory beans.

Ah ha! The first Gigante runner beans are starting to dry. I can't wait to try these stewed in the typical Greek fashion.

Here's the view of the pepper/eggplant bed. The large fruited peppers are growing under the row cover.

The eggplant patch is in the back on the left and there's a patch of Profumo di Genova basil in front on the left.

The pepper plants all have runty stunty little leaves (likely from some strain of cucumber mosaic virus) but they are blooming profusely and setting normal fruits.

The problem with the runty stunty leaves is that they don't provide any protection for the large fruited peppers which were getting sunburned. The row cover should help to prevent the sunburn and it may also help to keep the peppers a tad bit warmer at night which can't hurt.

This is one of the few large fruits that wasn't getting sunburned.

Shephard's Ramshorn

The small fruited peppers are less exposed so I've not covered them up. These are all sweet peppers.

Jimmy Nardello's


Sigaretta Dolce

The eggplants are growing well, blooming and setting numerous fruits. Many of them should be ready to harvest in the next week or so.




The Manzano chile plant is sprawling all over the place.

It's growing in a pot in a corner where it gets a lot of reflected heat and it doesn't seem to like that. It always starts to show signs of stress at this time of year, but it's loaded with peppers which are starting to ripen.

This is another potted chile plant that is suffering from runty stunty disease, but it is actually producing a surprising number of good looking pods. I don't remember what variety it is and the tag got lost. This plant is going on three years old and it's the first time it has produced more than one pepper!

To end the tour, here's a shot of a rather chewed upon "red" California poppy, actually a reddish-orange version. I would love to see this poppy volunteering around garden, but I suspect that the offspring will revert to the normal orange version, that's ok, I love those too.


  1. It looks like most things are doing pretty well. I sometimes have trouble getting flats of things to grow well in the summer too. So I still sow them inside if I have to give them a head start. Mostly I prefer to direct sow if I can. Sometimes it works. Sometimes not.

  2. Thank you for the garden tour! Our two gardens are a lot alike (except that I'm in zone 7). Same size beds and same orientation. Same downhill view too! You have such a nice variety of things going there. I've been trying to break out of the box a bit this year and try some new things too. I'm having germination trouble with beans too (Pinquitos), but from too much heat instead of not enough. I'll try replanting them one more time next week when the heat breaks a bit. I hope you try your soybeans again too. I think we're both in for a nice change of weather by next week. Also hoping for a nice long, warm Fall!

  3. You have so many different variety of peppers growing! I think that I might finally have enough pimento de patron (? - frying pepper) to cook up for appetizers this year! Terribly excited. Thank you for the garden tour :)

  4. You have a fabulous variety of peppers - but mostly I love your view - great setting to garden in.

  5. How is it that everything in your garden looks so green? My garden is really on the downside -- it's either dry, dying, or covered in powdery mildew. Maybe it's vacation; maybe it's poor soil or watering.


    Yours looks great, especially the beans.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I value your insights and feedback.