Cold Summer Growing Updates

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Well, we have finally started seeing the temperatures reaching into the 30’s but it is still fairly rare and only for a short time. It does however look like we are going to be heading into an extended period of low 30*C temperatures. Although I am really enjoying the milder weather, the garden is needing some more sunshine and heat.

We are doing ok. Looking back at the 2021 harvesting information, most things are starting to produce on a close timeline, but not in the same abundance as they did last year. There are also a few things that are definitely behind like our cucumbers, zucchini, butternut squash, cantaloupe, pumpkin and corn.

The zucchini are finally producing, but only just. We had 2 zucchinis start, but they were pinched between some stems of the plants and started to rot at the ends, so I pulled them out so that the plant could focus on growing further and producing more. I noticed we have a few more growing and will likely be ready within the next week or so. In 2021, we had collected almost 17 pounds of zucchini by this point. To be fair, I also had 2 plants last year, and I only have 1 this year. The cooler weather that we have had all spring and for most of the summer so far has meant a slower start for some of the plants. Mostly the ones that we started from seed outside in the garden. The zucchini was definitely late to come up and slow to grow. Some heat will change that.

The cucumbers are growing beautifully, and finally there are some cucumbers forming, but there is still a ways to go. In 2021, we had already collected 4 long english cucumbers and 7 lemon cucumbers by this point. I went with a few varieties of long english style cucumber this year, but I am sure the weather is the culprit for the later start. The plants themselves are now starting to climb the ladder, so I think we will really start seeing them take off soon.

I think our cabbage is also going to be quite behind despite a strong start in the house. I have a couple that are starting to build a nice looking head, but there are a few that are struggling. Last year, I harvested all 4 heads at the end of July. I really don’t think that is going to happen this year. Maybe 1 of them will be ready, but I’m not too sure. Once again this year we have been battling the imported cabbage worms. Late June there were so many butterflies, that I was picking worms off the plants nightly. It seems to have slowed, but I do notice there are still a lot of moths flitting through the garden. I have been keeping an eye out but haven’t found any worms in a week or so. Some of my cabbage definitely took a hit though. I did notice we have quite a few spiders taking up residence in the broccoli and cabbage, which from what I have read, can be very helpful, despite my dislike of disrupting them when looking for the worms. We also have a lot of birds in our area and yard, so I am hoping that they are also enjoying a smorgasbord of juicy little worms.

Our beets are growing great, but definitely had a late start this year, so we will be a bit behind our harvest dates compared to 2021. I did get a few beets out a week ago for a delicious salad, but they were just barely worth picking. I did notice that I am starting to see more shoulders on the beets, so I am hopeful that they will be much bigger in size the next time I harvest…which will be soon because I am itching to enjoy more beet salads.

The carrots are the same as the beets. Definitely behind and only just showing a bit of shoulder. I think those will also be coming to something of a decent size in the next few weeks. I haven’t picked one to check yet, but based on the shoulder width, they still look a little lean. The dogs will be happy when we do start picking those as they are their favourite garden treat. We did a little less this year than we did last year, with the plan that if we start running low, then we will add rows in as we pick them for later season harvests. I will likely do the same with the beets. I like to can some for the winter months.

The tomatoes are doing great with a large abundance of fruit on the vines. We have had a few of the cherry tomatoes ready and they are delicious. I really like this “Sweetie Pie” variety for flavour, texture and the way that they grow. I am sure we will be doing this variety again next year. Our big beef and roma tomatoes are ready for some sunshine. We finally have a few of the big beef turning red. I was beginning to worry because the fruit has been abundant for a while but we weren’t seeing much sun, so I was concerned they were going to start splitting or getting end rot from the cool wet weather. So far so good though. Plus we have some plans later this afternoon to do some pruning to open up the plants a bit to let more light in.

The pepper plants themselves are not looking overly happy but are producing well. I put them out into the yard later than last year due to the cold weather, but I think that the weather just hasn’t been in their favour for happiness. I won’t complain though, they are producing and the peppers are delicious and crisp.

Our strawberries are also doing great again, but we are expecting a much smaller harvest overall since only the bottom level of our tower plants came back this year. We were so busy with the wall that we didn’t end up fixing the tower so we didn’t get anymore plants to put in there. This fall, we will likely be moving the plants to a new home in the new garden area because the tower needs to go. Plus we are going to work on levelling the bottom of the yard this fall so that we can get grass seed down and start prepping the area for development in the spring.

Our corn is looking great, but we feel like they haven’t grown much taller in the last week. Almost like they are taking a break. We are hoping that is not the case, but we will see. The stalks look very healthy and thick, so we are hoping that we get a good harvest from them.

What am I most worried about? My butternut squash, cantaloupe and pumpkin. For the longest time I thought they wouldn’t come up and ended up re-seeding twice in the hopes of getting a plant to grow. They finally did come up and the top ones (butternut squash I believe) is looking good. The pumpkin plant is quite small. The cantaloupe is doing ok, but hasn’t seemed to grow much lately. I’m hopeful that the heat and sun that is forecasted will help get them growing like the weeds that we have been battling. We will be doing a bunch of work later today to get the weeds out of the bed and give them a bit more breathing room.

Speaking of weeds, they are out of control again. We plan on spending this evening in the garden just getting everything weeded, trimmed, and looking good again. Mostly trying to give our plants some breathing room and letting some more light into the vegetables so that they grow and ripen.

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