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A cool July yields a slow garden

July 31, 2009

pretty clouds 2 As Mark Twain said: “Everyone likes to complain about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it”.

The Pacific Northwest presently has record breaking heat and the Northeast is experiencing not only cool weather but one rainstorm after another.  A friend of mine got 5” the other day in one storm, and is presently pumping the water from her basement.  Where I live we have seen one of the coolest Julys on record. 

I suppose I could rant and rave and gnash my teeth.  But a cool July in Central Illinois means low humidity and highs in the low 80’s on a warm day.  So, not to contradict Mark Twain – but I am not complaining.

I think the weather pattern every year creates its own special challenges in the garden.  Sometimes the onions rot, sometimes the carrots have to be chipped out the ground with a jackhammer.  This year we had a wet, cold spring that meant the garden went in late.  The cool summer is now messing with the garden harvest schedule.

On the plus side, the sweet banana peppers did great and we are still eating lettuce from our garden.  Usually the lettuce is long gone, and while we don’t have the bounty we had in May and June we can still get a salad from it each evening this late in the summer and that’s a first for us in 13 years.  On the negative side, the basil is limping along, the hot peppers aren’t producing at all and the tomatoes are two to three weeks behind schedule.  However, there is hope – today I picked our first vine ripened slicer:first tomato

For whatever reason our onions are smallish, as were the garlic.  The green beans seem to be doing fine, although they too were late.  We had one row of snow peas but the others never germinated; but the carrots seem to be going great guns.  The jury is still out on the potatoes and sweet potatoes.

These flowers don’t seem to mind the weather at all.

wildflower garden  July flowers sunflower in the vegetable garden

This bottom picture was taken in our vegetable garden, which is well-decorated with volunteer sunflowers. We are suckers for volunteer plants – usually sunflowers and tomatoes – and we almost always leave them if they aren’t going to interfere with the actual planned for veggies.  We let the birds have the sunflower seeds – although that flower head on the this flower is awfully tempting.

As I tell the kids, you never know when it’s going to be this nice again – go outside!  And so I do believe I am going to take my own advice.

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