A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Monday, August 1, 2011

End of the Month Roundup--July

July gone? Really? Cripes.
Boring Boring Boring post ahead---for my reference. Go read someone else's blog!

This month we had:
29 Sunny Days--I am so sick of sunshine I could scream
2 Cloudy days
1.75" rain for the month....not nearly enough for even a week with our sand!--It is sooooooooooo dry out there. The only time it rained was AT NIGHT. Every day---day after day---SUNNY. ACK!
The grass is completely dead. It is a sea of brown. We seriously need some rain.
Temps have been average. We had one really awful night that only got down to 83. It's summer.

Strawberries ended July 12. Best year ever--75 quarts. Tore up Honey-O and Jewels. Will replace with new varieties next year. Hated the Honey-O's--sour and the Jewels were a tangled mess. I am keeping my Cabots. I'm undecided about the Northeaster. They are the BEST TASTING--but don't produce much.

The new berries I planted are all doing well and I've been staying on top of the weeding and keeping them from putting out runners.

Green bean harvest began July 22. I pick every other day. Harvest started with Blue Lake (love them, but so many are CURLED), Contender started by July 24 (hate them--tough, fiber-y) and the Top Crop started July 26 (undecided--good taste, straight, but they are "sticky" and the blossums stick to them and they're hard to clean up for processing). Pulled Blue Lake already (3 pickings). I have 36 pint bags (2 cups each) in the freezer. One more picking (tomorrow) and I'll have the full years worth. I'll rip up the other two beds and prep them for winter.

Sunflowers started blooming in earnest just yesterday. This is from the Autumn Beauty mix-Botanical Interests.

From the "Flash" blend-Botanical Interests. Not my favorite--very dark, but it IS the bee's favorite! At times, there are as many as 10-15 bees PER FLOWER. So, I'll grow these again next year.

The Aztec Gold sunflower from Burpee----short season SEED PRODUCER. Nice sized heads, the stalks are reasonably sized (6') and they produce quickly (70 days) so this is a keeper for my garden!

First cucumber EVER-July 29. Though I love salads, for some odd reason I've never grown them before. Will grow again next year.

First Matt's Wild Cherry--July 29. Tiny. REALLY TINY. Lack of water??? Crazy year?????

Also, the first blueberry we managed to harvest from TWELVE BUSHES. Note for next year--stop procrastinating and COVER THE DAMN BUSHES.

July 31 Harvested 7 heads Cauliflower. Looking a bit ratty. Rotten weather. But again--the row covers worked beautifully to keep them completely pest free. And they're good enough for soup.

First cabbage-July 31

Looks terrible, but this represents a major win---first year they aren't riddled with bugs. Again--the ROW COVERS were the trick. The only thing is I MUST USE HOOPS to keep fabric OFF the cabbage. The leaves kind of "rotted" where the fabric touched. Perfect underneath though. AND NO BUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

The garden over-all is doing okay, especially considering the HOT DAYS we're experiencing and the LACK OF WATER

Garlic harvest this year-July 21 .

The pumpkins and butternut squash--though huge and healthy, have not put out any fruit.


The Fastbreak Melon is LOADED....and I have a couple that should be ready in a week or so.

The Hearts of Gold Melon--lots of blossums but no melons.

Onions--starting to fall over. Last year I harvested on Aug 13, so about 2 weeks to go.

Potatoes look to be progressing well. The Yukons look close to harvest. Last years harvest was Aug 16.

Tomatoes: Overall-extremely healthy plants this year. No rain. Coincidence?

Did have to De-Hornworm them starting July 30. They were loaded!

Matts Wild Cherry-just starting. The fruits are TINY this year. ?

Brandywine -Loaded with fruit. Last years first one ripened Aug 19.

Jetstar-Loaded, but none turning

Yellow Pear-Lots of fruit, but none ripening

SuperSweet 100-Lots of fruit, but none ripe yet

Zuchinni-I get a couple every few days. I've just been shredding them for the freezer. Too hot to bake now.

Broccoli ---bad year. I did get SOME for the freezer, but not nearly enough....only 5 bags. Worse yet, my starts for the fall crop are not doing well. I'm going to plant them anyway--even though I won't have enough time.

Cauliflower-seven out of 9 plants produced. I did get fall starts in for them. Hope that crop looks better.

Raspberries--where the heck are they this year?????????????????

Carrots--I've gotten several really good harvests, but I did not keep up with sowing and am now running out of them. So much for my plan!!!!!!!!!!!!! If we EVER get rain again, I will try sowing more and use a cold frame on them if needed.

Lettuce/Spinach/Radishes--If we EVER get rain again, I'll start sowing them again.

Misc---first year I wasn't fanatical about keeping stuff weeded in the aisles. I have LOTS of volunteers--escpecially Portulaca. And I love them. Relax, Sue, relax. And let things go..........


  1. I hear ya on the lack of rain. I'm so grateful we put in our well. I'll be sending rainy thoughts your way. ;0)

    Sounds like you still managed to get a good harvest! Those beans look yummy! And the sunflowers are gorgeous!

  2. You have to be kidding about a boring blog--not,also I didn't realize you were gonna have such a bounty- ,my goodness,you must have at least one of everything. I KNOW YOU EAT YOUR VEG., BUT WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO WITH YOUR SUNFLOWERS

  3. Daisy-I think I picked a good year to run water down to the garden too. If you see any rain, though....let me know!

    Judy-I grow the sunflowers for the wildlife (and a bit for me too---I kinda like flowers, just a wee bit). The birds of course love them, but the deer are also quite fond of them also. Mid-winter, when they are hungry, they appreciate a sunflower head or two tossed out in the yard.
    Have a great week!

  4. You are so organized...I wish I was that way! This is the perfect way to use a blog! And I love those dark sunflowers...never seen any like that before. :)

  5. I recognized some things in there that I put on my list for next year! The Autumn sunflower mix and the strawberries for sure! I think that dark sunflower is just gorgeous!

    Well you have lots going on missy! This was not a boring post in the least, but consider your crowd too ;oD

    So are you relaxing? Too funny!

  6. The lack of rain is getting to be a bit too much! You have the most beautiful gardens Sue! Although things are far from normal this year, you are getting good harvests from your garden. Hang in there....one year we will all have a perfect gardening year and every crop will be just perfect! Wouldn't that be nice????

  7. We ended up getting quite a rainstorm last night, it was crazy. I wish I could just give you what we got for rain last night. Now instead of a intolerable 110 degrees , it is 110 degrees + humidity. Ack! I can't stand AZ.

    Nice critter on your other post, try and hide him from the birdies... little man wants to come up and see the "buh" (aka: bug) Speaking of the little guy, he "bonked" (his words) his head last night, resulted in a trip to the emergency room. Turns out he's still an over-active happy 2yr old boy, just with a nice bruise on his forehead.

    I agree, July went all too quickly. Especially our visit!

  8. I can't believe I'm ready to rip it all out already and think about fall... some years aren't so good!

  9. Mama Tea-organized? Well. Trying. And yes-this blog is the best way I've come up with. I tried a journal--but you search and search. Here it's all on one page. With pictures. How cool is that?

    APG: Relaxing. Yea. Good one. I'm sitting down for 15 minutes--first time since 7 am. Five loads laundry, cleaned the whole house, deadheaded the sidewalk flowers. Watered the garden. Blah blah blah. You know the spiel!

    Robin-I don't know if ANY of us could handle a perfect year. Could you imagine the processing that would be going on????? I can't keep up now!

    Josh-Child Abuse. Child Abuse. Give him to me now!!!!!
    Ha. I'll try ANYTHING.
    Thought of you this morning. Larry walked Hammer down to eat some grass. I was going to film it, but thought maybe that would be torture for Jared?????

    Erin-You stand there in a sea of produce and say it's not a good year???? Girl, you are an amazing gardener... and what you've been through this year and you STILL have so much stuff I'm green like a zucchini with envy!!
    Want some hornworms?

  10. Love the sunflowers!

    75 quarts of berries seems like a nice harvest. I bet you will be happy to have them during the winter of 2012.

    I am envious of your veggie harvest!

  11. It's been a tough season on gardens with the lack of rain. Your crops look really nice though. I missed out on the green bean harvest around our area this year. There weren't many available. Yours sure look yummy.

  12. I'm growing Matt's WC this year, and they are the size of peas and sour as all get out. I don't think that's how they are supposed to be.

    I agree with you on fuzzy beans. That's what I love about Fortex, no fuzz, no squeak, easy stand up picking, prolific, great taste. Next year I'm planting at least twice as many.

  13. Not the least bit boring. But like APG says, look who reads your blog!m We're all a wee bit tetched in the head.

    Matt's Wild Cherry is always a teeny-tiny tomato, but for me it's always had a wonderful flavor so I keep growing it. They're he!! to slice for BLTs though.

  14. Zoey-that's always my "mantra" when putting up stuff----"You're sure going to appreciate this come winter!"
    But oh my gosh, I'm sick of strawberries and green beans.

    Rae-help yourself to my patch. I'm now officially DONE with green beans for the year. Yay!

    AG-I've grown MWC before and they were never THIS tiny. DInky dinky dinky. Don and I USUALLY split the first tomato, etc...but this little guy was so small, we couldn't. (And yes---I won!)

    Mama Pea--slice for BLT's---LOL!!!
    Hmmmm.Wait. I never thought of that. I could have BLTS even on an off year for Brandywines........

  15. Sue, just an amazing garden by an even more amazing gardener. It sounds like our tomato harvest is going to be around the same time.

  16. BackRoad--And, have you stocked up on bacon yet??? BLT's are in our future VERY soon!!

  17. First time here, I loved reading about your comments on varieties. The seed catalogs make everything sound soooo delicious and it begins to sound like science fiction. It is good to get someone's opinion who grows that variety and can recommend or not!
    My first year with row cover, keeps the Japanese beetles off the basil! Love it!

  18. Sissy-I read soooo many blogs, and part of the reason is there are people out there, all growing different things. And that info helps me too. So if I can pass on the favor...........
    Thanks so much for stopping and commenting.
    And aren't those row covers the best! I'm hooked on them.

  19. Hi Sue,
    I need to get some row covers. I'm envious of your green beans. Mine were safe from the rabbits this year, but are now full of holes from insects.

    I just had a laugh because I reread your comment to me and saw you were envious of my liatris.

    I just used the rest of my carrots yesterday. I did plant some more beets and carrots, and they came up, but it has been so hot, that I think they have shriveled up because they were so small. I hope it cools down enough to do some fall planting.

    I love your sunflowers and the ones in the first photo look like they are doing well.

  20. Corner Garderner-I guess we all have things that others want--Your Liatrus is so pretty, and mine just keep getting nipped off by the deer. Seems if I want certain plants, they are going to have to be put in the vegetable garden-fenced off and safe! Good luck with the fall planting. I think I'm out of time.

  21. LOVE this post. I have a lot to learn and you've touched on several points that I want to discover more about. thanks!

  22. Dmarie-that's what gardening and blogging are all about-always something new to explore. Hope your week is going well! Thanks for stopping!

  23. What you call your "notes" are more like dreams to aspire to for us. You work so hard - very smart planning - and you have things finishing in time for a fall vacation. Whereas we are always late and our meager harvest (still much coveted by us!) comes on when we need to be gone elk hunting. This year I just might stay home... probably not... I don't know...

  24. 2Tramps--I chuckled when I saw the notice in my email that you had left a comment......because the email right below was from Travel Oregon. I told Don that we should take that as an omen to finally get back out west. My gosh, we miss travelling out there. Publishers Clearing House needs to send me my check---LOL!!!!!!!!!!
    Anyways-I don't think you should stay home from elk hunting. No no. You cannot leave those menfolk alone. They might discover peace , quiet, and tranquility. Then where would we be?
    Better to go along and keep Tramp 1 in line.

  25. HI Sue. .thanks for the visit to my blog! I loved this post. .I especially love to see how other people garden. I like to can things too, but at this stage of my life, could never keep up with a garden the size of yours. .although it would sure be fun!! We tried several new crops this year, which was a ball! But gardening here this summer seems to be like you. .dry, but HOT--nearly 50 days over 100 degrees already this summer. .and like 105-110. .really hot!! I will enjoy reading through some of your other posts!

  26. Melanie-I don't know how you can stand it THAT hot. I imagine a garden would just COOK right out there on the vine! Thanks for the visit!

  27. You don't have to irrigate? I'm up around 5am everyday working with my automated system by hand watering everything that's not hooked up. Not irrigating is foreign to me.

  28. Maybelline-I water once a week if we haven't had rain. I have heavy layers of mulch everywhere so that holds moisture in the sand. I hate watering. Really Really hate it.

  29. Here are a couple of my crop recommendations; I'm growning in a cool maritime zone 8 though:

    pole bean: Fortex, the only green bean I plant now, long straight beans, no fiber, sweet nutty flavor. Here's a look: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/1005/fortex-best-mess-of-green-beans-growin

    Strawberries: Quinault and Elan, healthy plants, sweet berries, tame behavoir

    watermelon: Black Tail Mountain, a short season variety from Idaho, that really produces nice melons: http://www.tallcloverfarm.com/141/blacktail-mountain-a-hot-melon-of-a-cool-climate

  30. Tall Clover Farm--thanks so much for the recommendations-I've read a lot of good things about the Fortex beans and will be trying them next summer for certain. I'll also be looking into the strawberries. I've never grown watermelon--I hope to find room for that!