Thursday, July 24, 2014

The July Garden

First, you must understand that I have only photographed the nice things that are growing, okay?  I'm going to tell you about the bad parts, but I can't bear to take pictures of them.

bay tree

mint in old pot courtesy of Genevieve
First, the bad:

A number of tomato plants, volunteer and commercially grown, have wilted dramatically in what I assume is blight.  It's definitely not a watering issue.  I have carefully pulled out the offenders as soon as possible and bagged them up for the trash.  The blight spores can fly through the air and poison other tomato plants, so it's important to be a golden-rule gardener.  I also read (too late!) that soil that has been contaminated by blighted tomatoes should not be used to grow tomatoes for two years.  I've been growing tomatoes in the same spots for several years now.  Whoops.

growing. . . for now

Now my pretty little French melon vine has wilted dramatically, too.  No sign of powdery mildew, so apparently, Rebecca says it's probably squash-borers.  I really can't bear to speak about this more - let's change the subject. . . .

to my struggling herbs in their too-wet bed, and my stunted raspberries in their too-shallow bed.  Here's some hope:  I'm going to switch their beds this fall!

And more hope:  the green beans and peppers are growing nicely!  I sprinkled some epsom salts around all the veggies yesterday (thank you, Pinterest).  I've also been grinding up my empty egg shells and sprinkling the powder in the soil for calcium.

My front porch pots are doing famously.

a surprising coleus volunteer in the back - winter savory in the front

The back yard looks like a weedy mess if you're accustomed to manicured suburban lawns, but the front porch pots look beautiful and they supply us with herbs!  Rebecca just gave me the brilliant idea to put a few herb sprigs and a chunk of citrus or cucumber in the water pitcher for a lovely flavored water.  This is winter savory and lime.  We love it, especially the children because they can make it themselves and there's no limit on how much they can drink.

I've been drying sprigs of sage, thanks to my friend A.  She picked up the Middle Eastern custom of swishing a sage sprig in a cup of hot black tea with sugar.  It's divine.

I'm formulating a garden plan for next year:  no tomatoes, to give the soil a chance to recover, but lots of cucumbers and green beans and maybe a squash or two.  Concentrate on herbs, because I really want more sage and tarragon.  And bees - I'd love to add bees.

(linking up with pretty/happy/funny/real and hoping Leila doesn't mind that I was rather casual about the categories)


  1. You could do tomatoes in pots next year. I only have enough sun for tomatoes on my deck so all of mine are in pots and doing well that way.

    I have ended up with coleus in at least half of my pots of flowers this year. I had lots of coleus last year so I guess the pots had seeds in them and they have come up everywhere. I have never had to weed my flower pots before but I am being over run by them.

    Lemon balm is lovely in water but in my climate it self sows and ends up being invasive. My herb bed is full of it. If you were nearby I would tell you to come and take all you want!

  2. I love it when I get volunteer plants! Our neighbor recently gave us a Crype Mrtyle (Flowering Tree) and another neighbor gave away a bunch of succulent plants we put in pots (that were saved from the side of the road) on the front porch. I hope you are enjoying your garden.

  3. I've had lots of trouble with blight on my tomatoes for years, even moving them around. Liquid Copper spray works wonders! (and it's organic...I know you would appreciate that!)

  4. Every year in the garden I've found we win some and we lose some. I'm hoping for a tomato win this year after last year's epic fail. But something is eating all the celery and the deer stripped the new baby apricot tree of leaves... So, yeah, win some, lose some. :) I'm also have good success with herbs, so yay for us and our herbs! I should try the tea trick! We have so much sage at the moment.

  5. I've been lucky with my tomatoes, never had blight. I think sometimes yu have to play around with what will work. I tried to grow swiss chard for years, and the birds and bugs always ate it. This year I put it in a pot, put a cage around it and covered it with bird netting. Score, it worked! I've never heard of winter savory, what does it taste like?

  6. beautiful pots by the way!!!

  7. Nancy, thanks. Winter savory tastes like summer savory, to me. It's a peppery herb that reminds me of thyme.

  8. No gardening for me this summer due to emergency eye surgery - no lifting, pushing, pulling or otherwise useful stuff :( Due to so many deer in our area, I don't plant vegetables anyway, just flowers, but I still miss it.

    But I'm enjoying reading about other peoples' plants! And I second the comment to try tomatoes in a pot, maybe in a location quite removed from this year's. Cherry tomatoes have done well for us in the past.

    When you say you'd like to have bees, do you mean an actual hive? That would be exciting - and goodness knows the bees need all the help they can get.

  9. We should just combine our gardens. Tomatoes and herbs doing wonderfully, peppers have long since dried up and died. I haven't tried melons or beans in many years do to no success. Keep in mind you will have no success if you stop trying and we haven't stopped trying.

  10. You know I never mind! Love it.

  11. Yay for bees! I think we are going to have bees soon too. We helped friends extract honey last Sunday. It was so fun. They live smack-dab on main street in town, and their bees thrive (except when bears come into town--they did have a hive destroyed this year). They extracted 205 lbs of honey on Sunday. I think I've got my husband convinced.....

    I'm also working on convincing him re: chickens. He's already sold on planting "The Orchard"....

    Your gardening looks wonderful! I love the potted plants so much. I have really failed at that this year!! Thanks for the tip on sage--I think someone pulled up my sage plant during a weeding spree. Sage in tea sounds lovely.


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