My garden is in transition. It’s August, and many of my summer crops are struggling to survive, while other crops have been fully harvested with the raised beds being prepared for fall planting. As you will see, the heat has taken a toll on my garden and on me. Not only has the heat affected my plants, but it has seriously decreased the amount of time I can physically work in the garden. These aren’t the prettiest pictures of my garden, but they exhibit the reality of gardening during a scorching southern summer. You’ll notice many differences in my beds compared to last month (links included).
For those who are new to my blog, I have twenty-one raised beds, eighteen of which are in my side yard. Here is a picture looking down my side beds. Click here to see how they looked last month; you can see the differences.
Here’s a picture of these beds closeup, taken from the far end. Here’s how they looked last month, when the corn, orach, and cucumbers were still growing.
BED 1 – Fallow
This is the bed that had my chia and chamomile. (Click here to see how they looked last month.) The chia grew over six feet tall and never flowered (thus, no seed), and the chamomile never grew taller than a couple inches. I was not sorry to rip them all out to make room for the lettuce I’ll be planting next week.
BED 2 – Squash, pumpkins, & melons
All of my squash vines have died except for the Black Futsu squash. The cantaloupe and strawberry melon vines have recently died, too. The Seminole pumpkin is doing well, with vines that are over 20 feet long! Unfortunately, I haven’t seen many flowers lately, compared to how they flowered last month.
BED 3 – Chili peppers
My peppers are struggling to survive the heat. The plants are showing signs of stress, with yellowing and falling leaves, and decreased production. My biggest harvests are in the fall, so I’m trying to keep them alive until then! (Click here to see how they looked last month.)
BED 4 – Fallow
Even though my corn stalks were completely dry, I still had such a hard time pulling my corn stalks, I had to have my Garden Wilson give me a hand. (Some people have handsome pool boys; I have a strong, handsome yard boy/farm hand. 🙂 ) You can see in last month’s picture how tall these stalks were. In this picture, you can see a couple of my pumpkins on the end of the vine in bed 2!
BED 5 – Fallow
This bed had my cucumbers. Last month, they were already starting to decrease production in the heat and develop downy mildew. In this picture, you can see another pumpkin, plus one of the mirrors I have around the garden.
BED 6 – Paste tomatoes
My tomato beds are a mess! In the good, the bad, and the ugly, these are the bad. They’re still alive – which is a testament that I’m doing something right. But they’re so tall, the stakes and cross beams can’t hold them! I have lots of tomatoes that rotted on the vine while I was on vacation, and my pear tomatoes can’t be harvested because they keep splitting in the heat before they’re close to being ripe. This weekend, I’m going to ask my Garden Wilson to help me prop up the tomato plants and prune them. I’ll feed them, too, so that maybe I can get more flowers. My paste tomatoes looked much better last month.
BED 7 – Slicing & cherry tomatoes
These tomatoes aren’t much better. They’re taller than the paste tomatoes, and the entire structure has a port list – right into the other tomato bed! It’s a jungle in there! Yep, I’ve got my work cut out for me next week. Last month, you can see how they were already growing above the structure.
BED 8 – Melons
And this bed? This is the ugly! Most of my vines are dead: honeydew, golden midget watermelon (harvested only ONE), ice cream melon (no fruit), and noir de carmes melon (two fruit eaten by pickle worms). My early moonbeam and cream of Saskatchewan watermelon vines are hanging on, and my rich sweetness melon vine is surviving (though it looks bad on the trellis). I’ll trim it up this weekend, and apply some baking soda and aspirin spray to see if that helps. I seriously need to weed this bed, too. They looked so pretty last month.
BED 9 – Sweet peppers
These peppers are struggling to produce in the heat, too. They look a little healthier than the chili peppers, though. Not as many leaves falling off. In last month’s picture, you can see the lettuce beginning to flower.
Go to Part 2 to see the rest of my garden and how it grows in August.