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.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

End of the Month Roundup--July


The Garden is hitting its peak.  The potatoes are starting to die back under the Agribon in the second row

Wow--I am SO glad July is over. Hot. Humid. Buggy.  We normally don't experience much in the way of any of that-but this year proved otherwise.  We had good rains at first and the mosquitoes and black fly were terrible.

July 7       1.1 inches
July 13        95/100 inch
July17/18     15/100 inch
July20         45/100 inch
Total for July---2.65 inches.  Not nearly enough with our sandy soil.

We had  27  Sunny Days
Hottest Day:    90  degrees on July 27
Coldest Temp--38 degrees on July 2


I had a great crop of broccoli this year.  The first of it was ready when we got home from our June trip.  I cut enough side shoots the rest of the month to provide all we need for the freezer, plus enough for weekly side dishes.  No bugs, no problems.  Will stick with Packman from now on.  It's worked best for me.  I'm done trying others. I left it standing to see if I get a Fifth cutting.

The Kale this year is a new one for me---White Russian.  It is prolific and pest free.  I am going to grow that from now on instead of the Blue Curled I used last year .  That strain was beautiful and produced well, but those gorgeous curly leaves hid bugs---and it seemed no matter how well I cleaned it, I always ended up with a worm or gnat or whatever crawling out of my salad. Ugh.

The lettuce this year was fabulous.  I used  Valentine mesclun mix from Botanical Interests. Wow--
it was by far the prettiest mix I've ever seen and it was all sweet lettuces---which we prefer.
I cut a large bowl full every other day.  It was wonderful!  I had to pull the plants July 25--our stretch of heat and humidity turned it bitter.   I had a "back-up" row of Buttercrunch---dull by comparison in both the looks and taste categories, but able to take bouts of heat/humidity, so salads continue.

A Bowl of Salad "fixins" cut first thing in the morning
The shallots were harvest July16. The onions are not sizing up well this year but as they still have time left to grow, I guess we'll wait and see.

The Mokum carrots started the second week of the month.  I just love them--super snappy and crisp-perfect for snacking.  I pull at least a half dozen every day.  I need to buy the biggest packet from Fedco next year----hopefully they have a  "pelleted" version----much easier to sow.  I kept them covered with screen the whole time and they were flawless--none of that root  rot I've had in the past.

The green beans went from not much
June 28
Beans August 1--one month later and they're producing heavily

to fabulous during the month. I picked my first dishpan full on July 30. July 31--another dishpan full.
I have 20% of the beans I need for the year in the freezer in 2 days. Usually I get completely done in just 5 days. I suspect these are not my usual beans (Blue Lake 274) because those mature all at once. I only have to deal with it a couple days.  Looks like it's going to take a bit longer.



The corn, which started out spotty in germination grew tall and lush. On July 23, however---SOMETHING got in to it and started knocking down stalks and chewing up the underdeveloped
ears.  This same thing happened to Margaret the day before:  Homegrown--Adventures In My Garden
I had been in the garden in the morning and it was fine.  An afternoon check showed the same knocked down stalks she had.  Whatever it was only did that once, thankfully.

Kohlrabi started July 20 and my laziness in thinning ended up working for the best.  Just a couple of bulbs size up at a time. I pick those and it allows some more of the plants to grow bigger. Works out perfectly.  I don't need lots of them all at once.

Blueberries are in short supply this year.  We had such a huge crop last year that I'm forgiving my bushes for taking a vacation this year.  The BlueRay are the first to ripen and there has been just about a pint a day, which means none for the freezer.   The Patriots aren't even worth mentioning as there are so few on them.   The Chandlers have a good crop, but those aren't ripe just yet.

Last week's heat and humidity gave the pumpkins a much needed boost
The Sunflowers started to bloom this week

Up by the house, the flower beds that got protected by my maze of ugly pieces of hog panels, chicken wire and misc. leftovers are recovering .  Some things won't bloom as their time frame for doing so is past, but I'm crossing my fingers that the Phlox might still bloom.
The Rudbeckia and Coneflower can finally bloom thanks to the hideous fencing we put up

33 comments:

  1. I caught some of the offenders red-hoofed in my garden. A momma and 2 fawns. Damn it--why did it have to be cute fawns! Our garden yield has been maybe 6 yellow squash, 2 zucchini a few hot peppers and a handful of blackberries. Next year there will be hideous fencing.

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    1. Tonya-you crack me up! You sound like me---babies equal cute, therefore-safe. Adults--well, that's another story. Hideous fencing works. Sigh

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    2. Once you have lost multiple harvests to white tailed rats any structure that keeps them out becomes a thing of great beauty.

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  2. Sue, your garden always looks beautiful and prolific.

    Broccoli 'Calabrese' always does well for us. And speaking of bugs_ we had to pick nearly all of our cabbage; two heads of Savoy became infested with aphids because of the extreme dry heat we've had, but we were able to salvage a few heads. I kept spraying them with Neem oil, but to no avail.

    This year we tried a new bean_ Purple Podded stringless pole and we're still enjoying them. The heat we have had has sure made vegetable gardening more of a chore this year.

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    1. Diana-those aphids are a tough one to deal with. The Agribon keeps off moths and larger bugs, but those buggers get in despite being covered. I was fortunate this year not to have a problem with them. Stay cool. Hope you get a respite from the heat.

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  3. Packman works well for me, too. Your garden is beautiful...your plants are so well behaved. Mine are like my children: Wild Mohicans!!! After harvest I'm pulling all the raised beds out and moving them to the other side of the garden area. I have a major infestation of ants and I going to do a HUGE eradication...organic of course, but lethal! Stay tuned!

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    1. Hi Lynda--Sorry to hear about the ants. That's one I don't have to contend with. Hey-how about an Anteater? Ha! Have a good weekend

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  4. It's happening to us too. Our corn is a couple of weeks away from being ready, and some critter has been knocking down the stalks and eating the immature ears. I'm pretty sure the guilty party is a raccoon. But our raccoons must have wings, because I have an electrified mesh fence surrounding the garden. A mystery.

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    1. Hey Bill--sorry to hear you're having the same problem. I thought maybe wild turkeys as it seemed to be knocked down from the top----and yet, the ears seemed gnawed, like a coon. Mystery. Whatever it is, I hope it's DONE.

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  5. What a garden tour! I loved it! Those sunflowers are a sight to see. How beautiful. You are so far ahead of us I can't believe it. Was it our very cool spring and early summer, your warmer weather in general or what? My beans are flowering like crazy but nary a bean in sight. Shell peas are just coming in. I think I'll have a decent picking tomorrow. You're so far ahead of us! (I think I already said that, no?) Thanks for the tour.

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    1. Hello dear lady! My stuff was TINY until that heat wave last week. The pumpkins were nonexistent---and now--WOW! My beans went from flowering to producing seemingly overnight--so get that dishpan ready to go!! Happy Beaning!!

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  6. Lovely photos, and your salad fixins are making me want a salad! :)

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    1. Hi Linda--thanks so much! Salads are a favorite summer meal around here.....

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  7. Here it has been a cool, dull and dry July with everything behind schedule.

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    1. Sue-though blasts of heat are uncomfortable, I think our gardens appreciate it a bit. Hope you get better weather

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  8. Hello Sue, your gardens look fantastic. I would love that bowl of fresh salad fixins. The green beans are one of my favorite veggies, I never tried to grow kale. I do love to eat kale though! I think the birds are eating my blueberries, the ripe ones are disappearing before I can pick any. Your sunflowers are gorgeous. Sounds like you will have enough veggie to last thru the winter. YUM! Have a happy Sunday and new week ahead!

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    1. Hi Eileen
      I think EVERYTHING loves blueberries. We've had a terrible time with the critters this year!
      Best of luck that you finally get to enjoy some of your berries

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  9. Oh, you lucky lady...if you can call having only a few corn stalks knocked down lucky. My corn is pretty much decimated. There are a couple of stalks standing because I propped them up with a bamboo cane, and I even see a couple of cobs developing, but I doubt they will be fertilized properly. I'm not sure if my cayenne spray worked or not - would I have zero left standing if I hadn't used it? I guess I'll have to figure something out for next year.

    I really love the Russian kales too - I haven't tried a curly kale yet, in part because of all the buggy stories. I've made a note of Blue Lake 274 - I really liked my peas that came in all at once; makes it very handy when it comes to prepping for the freezer.

    Every time I see your beautiful flower beds, it just makes me sigh - someday, someday. And you think your hog panels are bad - I have 3 sections of my backyard surrounded with chickenwire. At least hog panels look like proper fencing. Chicken wire looks like....umm, chickenwire. Oh well, it does the job...except for that mystery corn muncher, that is.

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    1. Hi Margaret-- I have YOU to thank for turning me towards the Russian Kale. Thank you! No more hidden "critters"!
      I was hoping you had figured out the corn eater. I've heard of several folks now with the same problem. Is there some NEW kind of creature out in the world?????

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  10. It's so wonderful to be able to visit your garden this way. It's just gorgeous. So glad you are getting regular harvests. Good to know what works best in your area, so you know what seeds to stock up on for next season. You're such a wise gardener.

    Love seeing all that food growing!

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    1. Hi Daisy--I know when you get your country place, you are going to have a HUGE garden. You're already doing amazing things in a "tight" space. Have a great week!

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  11. So jealous that you can grow nice greens in July! Just look at those beans! I tend to never thin my kohlrabi enough either and pick a few at a time letting the others grow larger with more space. Have some waiting in the fridge even. A friend swears by the hair clippings in the garden trick to keep deer away. Not something I've had to worry about. I'm battling the cottontails this year. Short fences around things in our garden. Enjoy those flowers!!!

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    1. Hi GonSS--- I'll try the hair clippings thing as well. I always appreciate ideas for controlling my "herds"!!
      Thanks for visiting!!
      :)

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  12. Sue,

    Your garden beds are beautiful, care to trade, lol......
    Just teasing! I wanted to mention, I'm from Northern Michigan......I'm a Yooper!!!! Good old Marquette area, haven't been back home in 30+ years.

    Love your sunflowers, will you be harvesting seeds from those flowers when they've turned brown?
    I just cut several stalks and placed them in brown bags, flower head first to let finish drying to harvest seeds. The birds have been stealing all the seeds on the remaining sunflowers outside.

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    1. Hi Sandy--I leave the sunflowers standing all winter---the birds feast on them in the garden, plus it "sows" the next years seeds for me at the same time. A double win.
      Thank you so much for your kind words. And I LOVE Marquette--they've done wonderful things with the downtown in the past years. You need to check it out!

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  13. I've only had success with volunteer sunflowers - if I try to plant them, the chipmunks hunt down the seeds and the seedlings. I did not think of covering the potato plants with Agribon. I will try it next year, as I was battling Japanese beetles and slugs all season. Your garden looks so wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Susan. The agribon is amazing for keeping the stuff off the plants, but it does make it more difficult to "tend". I just ignore the weeds under there. It stays covered until the plants are completely flattened. Last year I had lots of alyssum sprouted under there as well. It was kinda pretty!
      Have a wonderful week

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  14. WOW! Your garden looks beautiful and productive as always!! I smiled when I read your hot day as 90. .knowing you would HATE the triple digit days we had. .I wish I would have counted. .I would guess at least 1/2 of July was above 100, but always below 110. .a few years ago in the worst of the drought here. .it was up to 118 MULTIPLE days in a row. .YUCK! Even for this sun lover :-) Thanks for sharing your great garden!!

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    1. Melanie--Ha--you know me!! I despise summer. But I'd sure love your early spring!!
      Thanks so much for stopping. I've MISSED YOU and your posting!! Hint. Hint. Hint.

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  15. The bugs were really bad early summer for sure. Still your gardens look great despite of the weather....;)

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    1. Thanks TB! Have a wonderful weekend.

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  16. ARe those row covers over the 4x4 box? Did you cut them down to fit? Whenever I look at row covers they just seem so big for my little garden. Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy---yes, that is row cover--in a 10 foot width by about 15 foot long. Seems like a LOT of fabric, but you have to figure some of the plants are 3 feet tall and the fabric has to go up and over all that and still be long enough to "tuck in" the edges. I couldn't live without my row covers--they prevent so so many problems.
      GOod luck

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