Here we are in the midst of the summer haze, heat, and humidity, and my garden is showing it. I will admit, however, that not all of what you’re about to see can be blamed on the weather. I knew my garden wasn’t doing as well as it has in the past, but I didn’t realize how poorly it was until I looked at last year’s pictures from the same time period. I just haven’t been able to get out in the heat for long enough to fertilize, apply foliar spray, weed, etc. And it shows….a lot. It’s a little embarrassing – what with me having a gardening blog and all – but I have promised that I’d share the good, the bad, AND the ugly because that’s life. Maybe I could look at it this way. This year is a study on the effects of doing…nothing. So, sit back, take a look at part 1 of my monthly garden photos, click the links to see how each bed looked last month, and smile if my garden makes yours look like a paradise.
Here’s an overall look at my garden. I have 21 beds, 18 of which are along the side of my house. This picture is looking down the length of my 18 beds. (See last month.)
Here’s a closeup of the far end of the beds. (Click here to see how they looked last month.)
BED 1 – Chili peppers
Last month, I still had my romaine lettuce growing in this bed. I should’ve pulled it the beginning of June when it started bolting. Pure laziness on my part. The price I’m paying for that is my lemon drop peppers have grown very little in four months. Last year at this time, they were at least five times bigger than these. I think the lettuce overcrowded the peppers with their roots and blocked out the sun. We’ll see how my peppers grow now.
BED 2 – Lima beans
My lima beans don’t look much different than last month, thankfully. You can’t see it in the picture, but I’ve yet to harvest the pods. When there’s a breeze, the dried pods sound like wind chimes. LOL. Okay, my contempt for the wicked heat isn’t funny. I’m just going to have to force myself to get up early this weekend (on my day off!!) and pick those pods (for seed) so the plants will produce some more lima beans….for me to eat.
BED 3 – Squash & pumpkins
All my vines looked so pretty last month. So did the area around the bed. Not this month. The bed doesn’t look quite as full. My butternut squash died (can’t handle Charleston weather??), so two hills’ worth of vines are gone. The heat has caused some downy mildew damage. And, my lack of feeding them is preventing fuller growth. The fence was covered this time last year.
BED 4 – Fallow
My intentional fallow bed (see last month) now has unintentional ground cover. What? You don’t like my euphemism for major weed growth? Hey, ya gotta look at the bright side. Actually, it’s not all weed growth. You can see a squash vine crawling across the front end. The middle part has become my dumping ground for some weeds I have pulled. It’s a work in progress that needs to be completed in time for the fall planting. (YIKES….it begins next month and I don’t even have a plan made yet! Where does the time go??)
BED 5 – Fallow
So clean looking last month, this bed has got some “ground cover” of its own, but it’s mostly my watermelon vines crawling across the bed.
BED 6 – Cucumbers & melons
My cucumber vines looked pretty good last month, even with the downy mildew starting. This month, the mildew has all but shriveled the vines. And any cukes produced on what’s left is now being eaten by pickle worms. <sigh> (You can also see a handful of cucumbers that got stuck in the trellis and have turned yellow.) The watermelons in the back of the bed are growing, but I don’t see much fruit production yet. The canteloupe and honeydew in the front of the bed have a few fruit on them that are almost ripe.
BED 7 – Melons
Downy mildew has attacked several of my melons, as well. They’re looking pretty shabby compared to last month. However, my watermelons (white in the back, red in the front) are growing like crazy. The fruit on the white ones aren’t growing as large as they normally do, but they’re ripening well. I have several decent-size fruit on the red ones, waiting for the first one to ripen.
BED 8 – Corn
My Glass Gem corn went from sickly (last month) to sicklier this month. I have stalks that don’t even have ears growing on them. This would make an epic article for a “Don’t Do This!” series. Not feeding my corn, not giving it continual foliar sprays of epsom salts, and not top dressing with rich compost halfway through their growth has caused….this.
BED 9 – Snap beans
My last harvest of snap beans was a month ago (click here to see them last month), but it’s been too bloody hot to pull the plants. However, in spite of their peaked look, I actually saw some beans on the vines as well as some flowers, so maybe I should give the patch a look through this weekend to see if I have a harvest surprise waiting on me.
Be sure to see “How My Garden Grows in July Part 2.”