A Midsummer Garden Update

Here in the panhandle of Florida, it’s been a crazy summer.  If the heat hasn’t gotten to your garden, then the rain probably has.  Over this Fourth of July holiday, here at my house, I have had over 8″ of rain, but I know others on the panhandle have had more then that.  Hopefully, we are going to be drying up this next week and I will be watching the garden for signs of wilt and fungus.

June was a tough months for the garden, I spent a lot of time picking caterpillars off the tomatoes.  After a two week onslaught, the tomatoes survived, but were no longer the pretty plants they once were.  But even with that, I was able to can and dehydrate lots of tomatoes.  I will be using the dehydrated ones in stews and soup come winter.  The tomatoes are now coming to their end.  I read the other day that tomatoes quit producing blooms when night temperatures are above 75 degrees.  This is the first time I had heard this and it makes sense, but I will do more research.   A quick run down of the rest of the gardens goes like this.  Green beans, for me are a great veggie.  They taste great, freeze well, and best of all are easy to grow.  I grew both bush and vining varieties, planting them weeks apart, so some of my vining ones are just beginning to produce as the bush ones are ending.  I have lots of beans in the freezer.  Peppers have also been good this year.  They have nice thick walls, which I think is due to the fact we have had a lot of rain.  I chipped up and froze 30 or more peppers, and am hoping the plants survive this wet week so they can continue to produce until winter.  The eggplants have just recently begun to produce.  I am not sure why they have been so late, but I’m happy to have them as other things are slowing down. Cucumbers are done, I got an okay crop but they were all on the small side.  I think that bed needs the soil reworked, more compost please!  After a bumper crop of zucchini to start June off, I lost almost all of them to vine borers.   I need to find a fix for that next season.  Failures were tomatillos and onions.  I’m not sure exactly what happened with either, but I will try grow onions again next year, but I think I am done with tomatillos.  A few of the other things growing are, carrots, kale (not sure how this is holding on but the ducks are happy),  okra, and lima beans.  The okra and lima beans were planted mid June and are still small.  My package of lima beans was marked as bush limas but guess what, they are the vining type.   I had two choices, dig them up and plant something else or construct some makeshift trellises.  I can’t bring myself to dig up good plants, so I looked around and used what I had and made trellises.  Then I had to transplant some of the limas, as spacing for pole varieties is much different from bush varieties.  This was one time I was happy for it being cloudy and rainy.  I think they will all survive the move. This wraps up how the garden is growing.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I am growing asparagus for the first time.  I always thought I lived too far south to grow asparagus, but learned it can be grown all the way to zone 9.  I bought larger root stock in hopes to be able to get a few next year.  Crossing my fingers on this one, as I love asparagus!

Here are a few pictures of the garden.

West Garden. Left side front to back, okra, peppers and kale, tomatoes. Right side front to back, lima beans, onions (which need to be removed as they did nothing), tomatoes, asparagus.

East Garden. Left side front bed bush beans that are spent but I have been giving them to the chicks who love them, next is a hodge podge bed with a couple zucchini, jalapeno, a tomato and tomatillo, then a bed with a few carrots. Right side front bed, lima beans, next tomatoes, back bed has peppers and eggplants. The trellis beds have pole beans in front and cucumbers which need to be removed in back bed. Outside front bed is done, except two eggplants, with pole beans in back bed.

This is my asparagus. As I have never grown or seen it grown before, I hope this is what it is supposed to look like. I also have two pots of papayas. The one has been in a pot all along while I just dug up the other one out of the yard and put it in a pot. I had no luck with them in the ground. The two remaining in the ground look awful.

My herb bed running along the outside of the east garden.

Kahlo and the ducks.

Ducks loving the puddles from all the rain.

The chicks have been miserable!

I just had to show you this. I’ve got some banana’s. I think it is early enough that they will have time to ripen before the first freeze. I am very excited out this!

I just love sunflowers! Not even all the rain can keep them down!

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6 Responses to A Midsummer Garden Update

  1. Carole says:

    This on tomatoes from the Extension Agent: Daytime temperatures above 90°F and night temperatures above 70°F result in reduced flowering and fruit set. There is considerable evidence that night temperature is the critical factor in setting tomato fruit, the optimal range being 59° to 68°F. With night temperatures much below or above this critical range, fruiting is reduced or absent. Low temperatures reduce the production and viability of pollen. High temperature, especially if accompanied by low humidity and moisture, hinders fruit set through failure in pollination and/or fertilization.
    I’ve planted seeds for my fall tomatoes. I’m ready to go when that temperature window opens back up.

    • Hi Carole, thanks for sharing this. Can’t believe I had never heard this before. It’s exciting to keep learning new things. I was debating on starting my tomato seeds in a few weeks, but August and September are hot months so I may need to be patient and wait.

  2. Wendy says:

    Wow, i don’t think I’ve seen photos in at least a year or two, but everything looks fabulous!!! Your veggies look great and the herb garden spectacular! My asparagus took a good 5 years (just like they say!) to really establish. The ferns look great. My tomatillos also always look wrecked, but they end up producing near the end of the summer.

    • Wendy, I have not been very consistent in my blogging and picture taking this summer. It has been a crazy year. I am not a very patient person, so I sure hope my asparagus doesn’t take the whole 5 years. I’m glad you said that about the tomatillos. I got disgusted and threw out two of my plants but I still have one left. I will hold out and hope I get something from it. The two I got rid of had lots of fruit but the caterpillars just ruined them. 🙁

  3. What a beautiful garden! Just my style too! I know the rain has inundated us this year and can be a mess but the alternative is not something I like to think of because I hate droughts. Poor chickens! 8″ is a LOT of rain! Think no watering. Your asparagus looks good. I’ve never had the room to grow it so don’t know anything about it but it looks like success! Such a pretty potager!

    • Charlotte says:

      Thanks Tina, You’re right about watering, it has been nice to only have to had water a few times in the last month. That is unheard of in the dead of summer here in florida.

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