Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Between Seasons

It has become mostly a waiting game in my garden, the spring veggies are gone and the summer veggies are growing but for the most part are not yet producing.

Early Morning Fog Shrouded Garden

The fog descended last night, as is typical in the summer here, but it will have retreated down the valley by mid morning. On cooler days it will hang about just a few miles away, as it has done for most of the past 2 weeks and on warmer days it will retreat nearly all of the 10 miles to the coast. This morning it was only 46ºF (7.8ºC), which is not unusual, nighttime and early morning temperatures typically stay on the cool in not downright cold side through July. That's why I don't rush to get my summer vegetables going, especially solanums which resent those cold nights.

So now I'm waiting for the Tromba d'Albenga squash vines to start climbing their trellis. One seedling is still sitting under a water bottle cloche, it's a replacement for a seed that didn't germinate. The cloches help to protect the young plants from the birds and they help to keep the small plants a bit warmer at night. It's been cool enough lately that I've kept them covered 24/7. The next trellis is planted with a couple of Kiwano Melon seedlings and a Vine Peach seedling, all of which are under cloches. And the far trellis is planted with Honey Nut Butternut and Candystick Dessert Delicata squashes, which got to be too large for their cloches just a few days ago. Off to the right are a couple of Discus Buttercup plants, a bush type. Those are the happiest of the winter squash plants so far, they outgrew their cloches almost a couple of weeks ago. I left space in the far corner of the bed for melons, which I'm now waiting upon to germinate in some pots that are sharing space on a heat mat with a couple of my cats.

I'm waiting upon the tomatoes and peppers. They are growing quickly, the cool nights don't seem to slow down their vegetative growth. Tomatoes blossoms don't pollinate when temperatures dip below 50ºF (10ºC). I used to get my tomatoes into the garden as early as possible (I used to sow tomato seeds in February and this year I waited until April 6). The early start used to make for some huge tomato plants that didn't set fruit until late June or July because the nights are just too cold. I finally wised up a few years ago and held off on the solanums which has allowed me to expand the spring vegetables.

The pepper plants didn't like the early start either, the cold seemed to stunt their growth. I think the later start is producing happier and healthier plants and isn't delaying the harvests at all. Tomatoes and peppers are ripening at the same time as they used to when they had an extra month to 6 weeks to grow. The later start has also allowed me to grow a cover crop/green manure in the solanum bed and get it dug in and thoroughly incorporated into the soil before the tomato and pepper seedlings get planted, so the soil is happier and healthier too.

Here's a task that I can't wait any longer to get to, the tomatoes need some trimming and training to get them up the trellis and out of the path.

It's still mostly a waiting game with the beans and corn. I'm waiting for the climbers to scramble up their trellises. The Black Coco bush beans have set a lot of pods, now I'm waiting for them to dry. The one thing I'm not waiting on is the bush snap beans, they are waiting for me to get around to harvesting them again!

The corn is growing quickly, but it will be a long wait until they produce any ears. And then a further wait for them to dry on the stalks.

I'm waiting for the poppy seed pods to all dry and then I can uncover them and gather the seeds. They had to be shrouded because the rats know a good thing and they climb the stalks and eat the seeds. I'm also waiting for the snap beans to get to be large enough to withstand the birds so that I can remove the barrier around them.

The onions and shallots are making me wait until they finish flopping over and then I'll be able to lift them and cure them.

Brussels Sprouts Seedling

It will be a very long wait for the Brussels sprouts to grow up and start producing sprouts. They are doubly protected with a sleeve made from an old gallon water bottle, top and bottom removed, and a mesh tunnel which is what is making the photo so hazy. I started them a month earlier this year so I'm hoping for fresh sprouts for Thanksgiving.

Yay, not much more waiting for the first of the summer Batavia broccoli! I'm so glad it's producing because the rabbit made a mess of the winter sown broccolis. I just wrapped them up in whatever came to hand until I can get around to erecting a barrier around them. The Damn Rabbit really cut into the sprout production. I guess it's really just time to pull these poor things and put a barrier around the newer plants instead.

I had to put a barrier around the eggplants after the Damn Rabbit found the leaves and flowers to be tasty. It will be a little longer wait for the first eggplant now...

More waiting for the next round of lettuce. Thank goodness I got some extra protection up around the tunnel before the DR could do any more damage after finding its way in.

Still waiting for the DR to discover the apple slices in the trap... Then it's bye bye bunnie, welcome to your new home in the park.


  1. Great post. DR, indeed. 46F! jeez it's supposed to be summer, but I'll take it, I'll take it! Good sleeping weather. Sure beats 70 at night. I agree about the solanums, not to start them too early, they sulk and never recover especially eggplant.

    I absolutely love love love your first photo. Very nostalgic. I grew up in the Berkeley Hills and that picture reminds me of them: oaks, oats and fog. Sigh, how nice it was then.

  2. I hope you catch that DR soon! I am even paranoid about leaving the garden gate open while I am working in there, just in case something wanders in while I'm not looking. Rabbits can do so much damage. If your cool weather is typical in July, our hot and humid weather is the norm here. It's been sweltering lately.

  3. The lengths we gardeners have to go to, to protect our plants from weather and animals!! I love the photo of the bean trellis silhouetted against the evening sky (or is it morning?). Actually I love the trellis too - it looks very fit-for-purpose.

    1. Morning actually. Sometimes I wonder about my sanity when it comes to the efforts I make in the garden!

  4. So you have rabbits as well as birds in your garden now, so awful. I can't believe it actually fed on your eggplants' flowers and leaves. Terrible! Your peppers and tomato plants are looking amazingly lush, though.

    I have problems with peppers setting fruit because it's too hot and you have problems because it's too cold, funny how that is.


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