Garden Update - Early August

~The Good~

Finally, the rains have arrived! This is the best monsoon season we've had in years. Too bad it's not actually enough to pull us out of the drought. But it's exciting. Three weeks ago, we had the heaviest rain I have ever seen - that's my street, with water up over the curb.

As a result, the weather has cooled off and I'm ready to do some fall planting! Dave moved one of our raised beds out from under the mulberry tree where it was too shady for anything to grow, and I'm going to plant kale, fava beans, garlic, and maybe even some cabbages and fennel. We put the bed right on top of some nasty bermudagrass, with a layer of newspaper on the bottom, so we'll see how that does controlling the grass.

The most beautiful thing in my garden this year is the zinnias! This is what I get to look at each morning over breakfast. Although... it was supposed to be two beds of okra, and the zinnias are volunteers from last year's planting.

There are still a few okra in there, though.

We have a modest crop of tomatoes. I think we just need to use more compost and/or fish emulsion. The Punta Banda and Nichols heirlooms are doing pretty well.
These are the first few big ones, a variety called Ace.

The tepary beans I planted in July are climbing up the tomato cages with purple blossoms now.
The corn I planted in July is not growing very fast, but we put more compost around it and planted some more - you can see it coming up between the big ones.
The pomegranates are ripening nicely; we have about a dozen! The first decent crop since it died back to the ground in the -10°F weather we had a couple years ago.
I got some beautiful "rescue" plants from Plants of the Southwest, things that had been in their pots too long or didn't sell well... Vietnamese Cilantro on the left; Nicotiana, California Poppies and Purple Basil on the right.

Sunflowers and French Tarragon are wonderful.

It was a busy weekend harvesting grapes and pears! We got 12 pounds of little wild grapes, the Roberts Red, which is busily expanding its territory on the front fence. It took us three hours to pull them all off the stems. I'm still deciding what to make with them.

We picked all the pears, quite a bit earlier than last year, and put them in the bottom drawer of the fridge. Hopefully with a month or two of cold storage, they will ripen without rotting.
And we were lucky to get this handful of plums - hardly anyone has any fruit at all this year due to an especially bad late freeze that killed everything, even the apple blossoms.


~The Bad~

Squash bugs are moving in on the volunteer squash in the okra bed. Not a single squash seems to be forming on the PeƱasco Cheese squash, though there are lots of male blossoms.
The watermelons are still just blossoming; one tiny baby watermelon is forming, but people are selling ten-pounders at the growers' market now! What am I doing wrong? I put a bunch of steer manure in there, and I thought I was giving them lots of extra water... someday I will figure out how to grow melons.
My awesome yard-long Red Noodle beans are languishing in the shade. I guess they are really sun-lovers, and I haven't found quite the right spot to grow them. They're only about knee-high, when they should be ten feet tall.
All the cucumber plants died; I planted some more seeds but they are still tiny. Also maybe too shaded there with the beans.

Nasturtiums are still tiny. Maybe I'll add some more compost around them and see if they bloom before fall. They do like the cooler weather.


~The Weird~

There are just an insane amount of flies this year, I guess because of the moisture. We decided, to our own incredulity, that hanging a plastic bag full of water above the table actually does seem to help keep them away.


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