Friday, July 14, 2017

The Garden on July 14, 2017

It's been a while since I last did a garden tour and things have changed a lot since then.

First I'll show a couple of big picture shots. Note the gray background, that's normal for this time of year. It's the morning version of No Sky July (preceded by June Gloom and May Gray). Most evenings the fog rolls in from the coast and hangs around for a while and then it generally dissipates after it has thoroughly cooled things down and then it's back first thing in the morning and usually disappears by mid morning or noon, usually...

Beds #1 and #4
Bed #1 has only tomatoes and peppers. Bed #4 is primarily curcurbits.
Beds #2 and #3
Bed #2 is mostly corn and beans. Bed #3 is transitioning from onions and winter/spring veggies to summer greens and fall/winter veggies.

Bed #1
The last tour was just after I had planted out the tomatoes and peppers in Bed #1. A couple of warm spells made them really take off. Most of the peppers have started to bloom and I spied the first baby peppers, the largest on a Violet Sparkle plant. The tomatoes have been blooming for a while and there's quite a few small fruited tomatoes hanging on the plants but it will still be at least a few weeks before the first ripe tomato. The larger fruited tomatoes are more fussy about the cold nights and haven't really set anything yet so it will be a couple of months before I might get the first of those.

Bed #2
Bed #2 had just been cleared of favas when I wrote up the last tour for June 8 and the bed was basically empty. Since then I planted out 3 varieties of flour corn, 4 varieties of bush snap beans, and 3 varieties of dried beans. That corner on the right is where some pepper plants from last year are trying to make a comeback accompanied by a patch of Cilician parsley.

2016 Peppers
The Aji Amarillo Grande pepper which dominated this corner last year is the most reluctant to regrow. The Baby Aji Amarillo (on the left) which was crowded by the Aji Amarillo Grande last year is trying to make up for it and is the happiest of the bunch. There's also a Mareko Fana plant coming back and it's blooming already.

I sowed the corn seeds on just about the coldest day we had this spring and I was worried that they wouldn't germinate. But nearly every seed germinated and the plants seem to be quite happy now.

Last year I had a lot of problems with the Damn Rabbit munching on my beans so this year I set up some hardware cloth barriers before I even set out any of the plants which I had started in paper pots. No bunny problems but I have lost a few plants to either damping off or the predations of sowbugs which like to strip the outer layer off of the lower stems.

I've dedicated one section of this bed to an attempt to get a steady supply of cilantro. I thickly sowed some seeds in one row and then as soon as they poked their first little leaves out of the soil I sowed a second row (8 days) and likewise as soon as those popped up (8 days again) I sowed a third row and in a couple of days those should (hopefully) germinate and then I'll sow a fourth row and then I have room for 2 more rows. I figure that by the time the first row is ready to harvest I should be able to start the succession all over again. The cilantro bolts quickly in the summer but I plan on harvesting the plants when they are still quite small which is why I sowed the rows so thickly. I've had a few losses of seedlings and to a surprising culprit. Usually I would blame the birds or the sowbugs but I happened to be watching when I spotted one of my beloved Western Fence Lizards snacking on some of the seedlings! It then scampered down the bed, stopping to take bites of a few weeds that had popped up. I didn't know that lizards ate plants but now I've learned that they do, but they are fairly polite about it, just sampling and not mowing down entire stands of seedlings. I'll share...

Bed #3
Bed #3 is where I had spring lettuces, cabbage, cauliflower, greens, and broccoli. The rest of the bed was dedicated to alliums and parsley.

Pink Plume Celery
The newest addition to this bed is some Pink Plume celery. The plants might look a little better if they hadn't sat in pots for a bit too long. I hope their extended confinement hasn't stunted their growth or made them more likely to bolt.

Batavia and Aspabroc Broccoli

The spring planted Batavia broccolis have surrendered their main heads and seem reluctant to produce side shoots.  There are some Aspabroc (Broccolini) plants beyond that are producing a few side shoots but nothing all that impressive. That is just as well because I can't deal with a glut of veggies at the moment beause my kitchen is, shall I say, "in transition" at the moment.

Batavia Broccoli
That's the winter round of Batavia broccoli which I thought was pretty much done producing a few weeks ago but I keep finding some really nice side shoots. They are doing so well that I have to let them stay. They don't seem to mind the parsley that is filling in around them. I wonder if the parsley is good for the broccoli in some way.

Cauliflower Resprouting
The Fioretto Stick cauliflower is next to the Aspabroc. I was just about to pull it out when I noticed that the plants were sprouting from the base so I decided to wait and see what would happen. Not much yet but I don't really need the space at the moment so I'll continue the experiment.

My attempt at getting a patch of bulbing fennel to get going seemed futile when I got very poor germination so I sowed arugula, mizuna, and Tokyo Bekana cabbage around them. I left the few fennel seedlings just to see what would happen. The greens came and went and the few fennel seedlings hung in there and now they've actually produced some decent bulbs. I think I'll have to try this again next spring.

Zebrune Shallots
The onions were hit hard by downy mildew and what I allowed to stay in the garden produced much smaller than usual bulbs. The Zebrune shallots seem to be a bit more resistant and look like they may produce some pretty good bulbs. I'm glad I didn't yank them out when they looked so miserable earlier this year.

This is the space that was until just the other day occupied by most of the offending alliums. I pulled those and am allowing them to dry and now the space is ready for Brussels sprouts and Kalettes which I started in pots a few weeks ago.

Bed #4
I was in the process of digging out nearly half of Bed #4 back on June 8 to get rid of invading roots, a combination of oak and rosemary roots. I didn't realize that rosemary roots could be so aggressive, but learned that when one of the rosemary bushes along the perimeter of the garden died after I dug out the roots in the corner of the bed nearest that bush. Roots are gone and that end of the bed is lined with a double layer of fabric extended up the sides of the bed so it should be good to grow for at least a couple of years. That end of the bed is now home to some Kurin Kabocha squash which I'll train up the trellis. Beyond the Kurin Kabocha are Terremoto squash seedlings. I'll let the squashes take over that third of the bed and spill over into the pathways. Beyond the squash seedlings are some very small seedlings of Crane melons.

Tromba D'Albenga Squash
Back on June 8 the Tromba D'Albenga vines hadn't even reached the bottom of the trellis yet. Now they have reached the top and beyond and I've just harvested the first young squash this week.

The cucumber vines in early June were still snug in their water bottle sleeves, protected from cold and bugs. They too are clambering up their trellis and the Green Fingers plants have started to produce.

Italian Mountain and Corsican Basils
Oh my, the basil plants. I keep cutting and they keep growing. I can't keep up. And look at that Romanesco zucchini back there.

Romanesco Zucchini
The Romanesco zucchini is going bonkers, again. This and the Tromba squash are the only summer squashes that I grow these days. Both are very suited to my climate and produce abundantly. They both are resistant to powdery mildew which can be a scourge here. And both of them are very good eating. And both of them dehydrate well. Winners all around

That's the latest from my garden. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Wow such a lot going on despite the pest issue. I bet you are spoiled for choice at mealtimes.

    1. Sue, I've seen your harvests, you are just a spoiled as I am. And you "harvest" beautiful flowers too!

  2. I actually think I would enjoy your "gloomy" months. I love working in the garden on cloudy days - so much more comfortable than when the sun is beating down on you.

    Everything is looking great in your garden! How lucky that a few of your pepper plants were able to make it through the winter - it will be interesting to see how much they produce in their second year. I'm with you on the Tromba - it's my favourite and a permanent addition to the lineup around here as well.

    BTW - I love your cages and am also going to transition to cages instead of tunnels. I have the supplies in the garage but have been procrastinating as I still haven't settled on how I'll be making them.

    1. It may sound like I'm complaining about the fog, but it really does help to keep it comfortable around here - good gardening, good hiking, and good sleeping with the windows open. Beats the heat! It does slow down the tomatoes and peppers though.

      The cages are a great winter project if you have a place to work. My advice is to choose a standard size and make all your panels one or two sizes. I made almost all of mine 35 inches long by 24 inches high - a size that works well in my beds and it also maximized the number of panels I could get from the lengths of wood. I made a couple of panels just 28 inches long which allows me to set up a more narrow cage. For some plantings, like the beans I just used lengths of hardware cloth that I edged with Duct tape to prevent snagging my clothing on it every time I get near it and then lashed it to garden stakes with some cable zip ties. I used that on the dry beans because I won't have to gain access to the plants until the beans are dry. Perhaps I should do a post about my cages one of these days.

    2. Thanks for the insights! I'm sure a lot of people would be interested in a post on the cages. Most of my issues have to do with either onion fly or cabbage whites so I need to use a netting on the cages as the holes in hardware cloth are too large - unfortunate since netting will wear out a lot more quickly. I like the idea of panels as then you can dis-assemble them for easier storage, esp. in the winter.

  3. No sky July. I like that. Unfortunately come end of June, we no longer have fog down here until October. You sure do have a lot of nice (old favorites, experimental and intriguing new ones) things growing! What a fantastic gardener you are.

    1. A fanatic gardener, oh wait, you said fantastic! Thank you! But fanatic is probably more apt. :)

      Woke up to clear sky this morning, it's going to be quite warm (for us) with a forecast of 87ºF.

  4. As always you're growing such an interesting mix of veggies! And I would say you have lizards with pretty refined tastes if they are munching on the cilantro. Your remesh trellises are such a good idea. I made three this year for vining squash and they are working out quite well. I wish I had put the tromboncino on it though! I have it growing up the garden fencing, but I have to worry about the deer grazing on anything that sticks out. I see yours has already reached the top of the trellis. Do you prune it back?

    1. Very discerning lizards indeed! I haven't pruned the Tromboncino yet but it's so incredibly vigorous this year that I think I'll have to pretty soon or it will take over. The deer would be thrilled if I grew my squash up the garden fence - feast time...

  5. Quite a tower of squash you have with the Tromboncino!! Mine are not much bigger than the hay bale they are planted in, but are still the fastest growing of the squash plants.

    1. The Tromboncino is so very fast and it seems to sprout a new branch from just about every leaf axil so it's growing exponentially.

  6. I know that envy is one of the seven deadly sins, but I just can't help myself. Your garden is nothing short of spectacular.
    This has been another year of the rat in this part of the Valley. I've been using Victor Power Kill rat traps. They're made of plastic instead of wood and are very durable. The bait (I've been using peanut butter) is in a small well positioned in the middle of the lever that springs the trap. Once it claims its first victim, the trap seem to become irresistible, and and will attract more victims without replenishing the bait. I've also discovered that rats are fond of petunias. Such are the problems of paradise.


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