Friday, July 2, 2010

July Garden Update

What a strange year. Last year we were swimming in okra. This year not even enough for a meal a week. Eggplant are finally setting fruit but they're very small. The collards, dispite 3x weekly spraying with soapy water, are limping along, still covered in aphids. The lima beans vine is big and glorious... with a whole 5 pods. The asparagus beans are keeping us fed now, barely. They're producing well, I just put in more rattlesnake, contender and mcCaslan beans that the asparagus beans. Learned that lesson. Pumpkin vine wilts in the heat, but is holding its own though with only 2 pumpkins, I wonder if its worth it. The watermelons, oddly enough, are doing well too with no sign of disease. Except the biggest one split yesterday... without having rain for weeks. I don't understand that one. I have several things ready for transplant but I don't dare until rains are coming somewhat frequently. We got a good rain this morning and more expected tomorrow, but I've lost so many transplants to things just being too dry to risk it now. I'm praying for the sweet potatoes I set out in the pasture beyond access to water. They could be a very good source of forage if they can get established.

I'm planting some more butternut and pumpkin seeds later this month. Am also hoping for more collards to germinate. Those were already planted but did precious little germinating. It's been a tough season. Most of that is probably due to me being so busy and out of routine. We used to spend every morning, all morning outside puttering, planting, trellising, mowing, etc. Now I'm lucky to get a day a week without having to run in, clean up and head somewhere else. The end is in sight though. Life will soon be back to normal.

Whatever normal is.


  1. Could it be you're having trouble with the collards because it's not the right time of year to plant them? Granted, I'm in south, south Florida close to Fort Lauderdale, but I planted my greens - collards, kale, mustard and swiss chard - in November and had a wonderful crop of all. As a matter of fact, I've still got the last 3 straggler collard green plants in the bed because I'm feeding them to the chickens as a treat a couple times a week. I planted a couple of beds of different green beans this summer and they all pooped out from the heat and some sort of fungus, but again, I think it was the wrong time of year to plant them as my winter crop did wonderfully. The only bean that I'm aware of that's supposed to be planted in the summer is yard long beans and I think that's because they're subtropical/tropical. I got this info from The Edible Landscape by Tom MacCubbin, but the book is out of print. I've put a page up on my blog that details what's supposed to be done in a Florida garden planting-wise all year long - how many plants to plant per person, when to fertilize, when to cut things back, etc. I've found it to be quite helpful and I'm finding that the more I pay attention to it, the better my garden does.

    I also just today went out and picked up a small bottle of grapefruit seed extract from Whole Foods. A girlfriend of mine who has an organic farm in SW Ohio says that's what she uses for anything fungus/mold related and she says it's never failed. She says she used 40 drops for 350 tomato plants and that she never uses a whole bottle a season. I figured it was worth trying even though the 4-oz bottle cost $25.

    I'm glad you posted. I hadn't seen you post in a while.

  2. We are in Tampa, and grow mostly hydroponically, with two SFG (herbs and melons) and two rows of summer peas in the ground. Our year has been very different, too. We couldn't get any cukes or squash to perform like they did last year (powdery mildew) and the bush bean plants look healthy and happy, but they aren't blooming. Our Swiss Chard is doing great, as are the peppers, but the tomatoes area already petered out. I think it's been much hotter here, earlier, than it was last year. I can't find a way to keep the chickens cool (they are panting all the time). Glad I found your blog - it's nice to know there is someone else 'out there' in my area. I'm just in a small city lot outside MacDill AFB, though. Nothing as rural as it sounds like you might be, with goats and fruit/nut trees.