Friday, July 25, 2008

Finally a Sunny Day

After so much rain (3" yesterday) we had a nice day today. So of course I was so busy that I forgot to take pictures. You will have to use your imagination. I harvested all the typical summer fare: tomaotes, cukes, zukes, beans, peas, jalapeƱos. But today I noticed how sad the lettuce was. It really hates the heat. I picked most of it that was over 2" tall. It was bolting. I left a little in, but really it isn't lasting well. Next year I have to start seeds indoors in the basement where it is cool. Then put the plants out after they have grown a bit. The lettuce I seeded about a month ago is only an inch tall. Pretty sad. But at least I'll have (slightly bitter maybe) lettuce in the fridge for a week and half. It took a while to get it into the fridge. Though there are barely any insects on the leaves anymore, they were coated in mud. So they needed a very thorough washing.

The poor little carrot seedlings were smooshed into the dirt. I gently freed their leaves from the drying mud. The second seeding (to fill in the gaps from the first seeding) is just starting to come up. I'm surprised all the seed wasn't washed away. I'll have to keep the surface moist for the next few days, because after that heavy rain, the soil will crust over if left to dry and the rest of the little seedlings will be stuck underneath.

I picked two long 16" beans from the yard long bean plants. This is certainly not enough for a meal yet. I'll have to wait for the others to get a little longer. Or cook them up with my green beans (most likely). If I do it that way I can do a taste test. My Fortex beans are the prettiest. They are very straight and long but not very productive and they are starting to get diseased. So far my Kentucky Wonder beans have been producing like crazy. They were the first (and still only) bean to make it to the top of the trellis. I would say I get about twice to three times as many beans from them as I do from Fortex.

My dill was almost on the ground because of all the wind and rain. I had to put up a trellis to keep it off the basil and leeks. While I was at it I picked a lot of later dill that was just starting to blossom and turned it into pickle juice. I had to be careful though because my second crop of butterflies is on its way. I saw two caterpillars munching on the leaves. I saw some last week too, but they never grew up. They disappeared well before they got to the pretty green and yellow striped coloring of their youth. Ah well. I have too many beneficial wasps zipping around. I really can't complain much about that.

Then it was on to the raspberries. I have ever bearers. Which means they bear fruit twice a year. Once in July and once in September. The chipmunks have finally found them and stripped off most of the unripe berries. So I cut out the old canes to let the new ones grow up for my fall crop. The new canes were thinned out to keep the air circulating, and so I can find the berries in the mass of canes. The other added benefit of thinning the canes is that it makes it easier to get into my car. They grow right up against the driveway and my car is parked on that edge. So they attack me constantly.

I also had to spray my worm tea/aspirin mix today. I would have done it at the beginning of the week, but it never stopped raining. It isn't supposed to rain again until Sunday. So it ought to give the plants time to enjoy their spray. I am seeing more disease after all this rain. I saw the first of the powdery mildew in the garden this year. Luckily it was on a dead bean leaf on the ground. I quickly disposed of it. Tomorrow I'll have to clean up any dying leaves so such things don't spread. Today everything is still a little too damp to clean up the plants.


  1. I'm glad to hear you got a break from the rain. What is crazy about the Pacific Northwest is how incredibly rainy it is in the fall and winter but then in the summer there is no rain. Almost drought like! It makes watering so much fun.

    I am envious of your yard long beans as mine never germinated. The insanely wet spring rotted them all.

    Why do you add asprin to the worm tea? I have never heard of doing that before.

  2. Well my yard long beans ended up as bush bean that were yellow and were barely alive. But they got green for a short time and flowered. I at least get to eat one meal of them.

    Aspirin as been shown to switch on a plant's defensive mechanisms. If you can get it into the plant (foliar feeding works ok for this but not perfect), it makes the plant defend against diseases quicker and better. I'm actually trying two sprays on alternate weeks. Seranade (a commercial spray that is a mix of beneficial bacterial that prevents fungal growth) and the worm tea/aspirin mix. I'm finding the worm tea/aspirin works longer than the Serenade. It might be best in combination, but later I may just do the worm tea/aspirin and see if it works as well as both. Late summer is the worst time for fungal diseases. So it would be a good trial if I can keep the powdery mildew at bay.