Garden Status Report: Mid July

It hardly seems to me that spring had even started before it was gone.  This growing season has gone by so quickly, or maybe I'm just getting too busy!  Unfortunately the garden has been through some rough times.  Drought and unbelievable record heat have crippled gardening in many ways from killing plants to keeping gardener's with common sense indoors (although I'm not sure I completely fit in that category!)  Here are a few photographs of how the gardens are doing now.    

Zucchini - Costato Romanesco

The vegetable garden is growing along just fine despite the weeds and weather.  I need to spend 3-4 days out there getting the weeds in check which should be a lot easier now that we've had rain to loosen the soil.  Before the rains removing weeds was like trying to remove the Sword In the Stone!  If successful I guess that would make me king of ragweed...?

Tomatoes are just beginning to ripen.   We've picked a grand total of 4 ripe tomatoes so far: three cherry tomatoes and one yellow pear tomato.  Yes we're rolling in tomatoes...not literally of course.  Actually we will have quite a few coming in very soon.  The excessive heat slowed their production down and since the temperatures have now dropped the ripening has really begun. 

Melons are coming in like crazy.  They aren't ripe yet but I have a feeling we'll have more than we can eat soon.  Unfortunately I had to throw away a developing Yellow Midget melon due to a rabbit's appetite.  I wish they would at least have the courtesy to eat the whole melon and not just take a few bites to ruin the fruit!  I won't be saving leftovers for rabbits.

Aster yellows disease on coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)
The ornamental gardens are getting by OK now.  The tough as nails coneflowers have made it through the drought decently but not all is well in coneflower land.  Aster Yellows the dread disease spread by annoying leafhoppers has reared its ugly head.  I pulled one coneflower plant out of a front garden and a second one out of the backyard garden.  It also took down one of my favorite gaillardias, an 'Oranges and Lemons'.  Once a plant has aster yellows there is no cure.  The best thing to do is to remove the infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease to healthy plants. 

My daughter and I transplanted some coleus that we started from seed a few weeks ago in the from garden with the sitting wall.  It was a mixture of colors from a store bought package. Some of them look very cool while others rather lackluster.  I'll save seed from the best and plant that seed next year.  Who knows? Maybe I'll even take a crack at hybridizing some coleus!

I'm excited to see flowers forming on a blackberry lily.  One was given to me a year or so ago that was covered in seeds.  I didn't plant this one here but the seeds may have landed and sprouted on their own.  I think interplanting blackberry lilies with irises would be a good way to disguise the foliage of irises in the summer.

Bees on passionflower

With the drought the insect population seemed almost non-existant.  Except for the ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes of course.  But the bees are back in force! It's good to have the pollinators back at work!

How's your garden growing?

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