July 28, 2023

Garden Notes: July 2023


  • 1st: 0.48"
  • 2nd: 0.25" 
  • 4th: 0.47"
  • 6th: 0.03"
  • 7th: 0.44"
  • 8th: 0.01"
  • 10th: 0.03"
  • 15th: 0.17"
  • 19th: 0.17"
  • 20th: 0.18"
  • 22nd: 0.37"
  • 28th: 0.69"
  • 31st: 0.39"
  • Total: 3.68 inches

  • range of nighttime lows: 63 to 73°F (17 to 23°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 80 to 93°F (26 to 34°C)

Weather Notes
  • Firstly, I'll make note of my Thermometer Discrepancies post plus comments. I'm still mulling over exactly what data is useful to me in our lives here: rainfall surely, temperature logical, with humidity and heat index a large factor which only seems important on the day. I'm jotting the heat index down on my calendar, but I'm not sure what else to do with it yet.
  • The highs have been on the low side of normal for July, but it's been humid, which means we're just as hot and sticky as when they're on the high side of normal!
  • The lows are unusual. Typically, this time of year our lows our in the mid-70s (   ), so we're cooling off at night more that usual. This is welcome! It helps cool the house off. We haven't had to use our Arc-Chill cooling blanket yet, and I often put on a flannel shirt when I head out for early morning chores. 
  • Rain forecast is always for "scattered thunderstorms" or "isolated showers," which means sometimes we get it, sometimes folks down the road get it. (Which can be frustrating for a gardener.) I think the frequent cloudy days are what's helped keep our daytime highs lower than usual.

Garden Notes
  • Only mornings are cool enough to be in the garden, but our humidity is in the mid-90s%, which means everything is drenched with dew. I have to get everything done by 9 or 9:30, when the sun hits the garden. It's just too hot after that.
  • Afternoons are for canning or other activities.
  • Morning garden work includes picking, bed prep (like the potato beds, which are all done for the summer), some weeding, and I still have a few places to mulch.
  • This time of year, the garden is on the wild side.

Believe it or not, everything here is stuff I want: summer veggies, volunteers,
forage greens, and cool weather crops going to seed, which I'll collect later.


The final load of potatoes, with one lone onion I found.

Final harvest weight  of potatoes was close to 80 pounds. We've had a lot of discouraging years with them, but this year they did well. I think the difference was preparing the bed with compost, bone meal, and azomite minerals. Last year I reviewed a book by Lynn Gillespie, High Performance Gardening. It's primarily a beginning gardener's book, but I gleaned a nugget of gold in her discussion of soil minerals. I did a little research and discovered that I already had a good solution in the barn, Azomite. It's powdered organic trace minerals, and I started mixing small amounts with my compost. I think that's what made the difference!

The other thing I want to note is that digging potatoes was easy this year. I planted the seed potatoes in shallow soil and then mulched heavily. All potatoes were right under the surface of the soil and easy to find. Very little actual digging required.

Early July harvest sampler: summer squash, slicing tomatoes, cucumbers

Okra and cherry tomatoes followed soon afterward.

It's too hot for lettuce, so our July salads are usually cucumber and tomato based,
maybe with hardboiled duck egg, grated feta goat cheese, and ricotta/salsa dressing.

Or this one: tomato, cucumber, and black olives as a
treat. The dressing is my homemade ricotta ranch.

July canning sampler: pear sauce, zucchini, dill pickles

I'm guessing August will be hotter and dryer. August is when it's recommended to plant my fall veggies, but it's usually too hot and dry for that to make sense. 

How is everyone else doing? Gardens still making it? Not overworking? Anybody else looking forward to fall?


daisy g said...

Although I strive (and sometimes struggle) to live in the moment, I do look forward to the first, crisp days of fall. The heat index has been brutal, and with little rain, there is no relief. Feel so badly for the chooks.

Your garden looks lush and fruitful! I also get my work outside done early when I can, and stay indoors in the afternoon. It's dangerous to be out in that heat.

Hope you have a productive weekend!

Leigh said...

Daisy, it seems that now that I've got my July garden notes published, the temps have decided to push on upward! It is hardest on the critters, isn't it. Hoping for rain for relief for them, and so the garden doesn't suffer much.

Goatldi said...

Fall? As I walked past Callie today after a jog to hang another load of laundry " I want it to be winter!" Now keep in mind it is warm but not as HOT as it could be.I just want to move on to the next garden. Callie looked at me as it to say " is this the same woman who kept the flannel sheets on the bed through to June because it was still flannel shirt weather and was complaining that Spring would never come?"

I find it interesting because you could almost draw a straight line on the map from my cabin to you we share some things but not others. Which is most likely due to other factors that one of us has or doesn't have but not the other. Rain during the summer is pretty much unheard of here. We are in a pretty dry area and if we experience humidity most folks around here think they are dying from constant sweating if the percentage reaches 30%.

My garden is producing but painfully slow. Most likely due to the exceptionally late winter reruns that came back three times before Spring actually settled in. My third replant and the last was mid May. So behind the eight ball now to be sure. Most of the veggies are slow to produce and take forever. I don't think most will give up much but something here and there is ok. However I pretty much did what you did with your potatoes. And to date they are the poster child in the garden for what will be a good harvest. But I won't know until late September early October. But thanks for asking and I will cheer you and others on .

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I think the biggest difference between us is humidity. We typically have very dry summers, unless a hurricane dumps on us, although just now we've gotten 2/3 of an inch and still raining gently.

Interesting about your potatoes. I'm sorry to hear everything else is doing so poorly. The oddest thing is that my pole beans are growing well but have produced no flowers! I'm still waiting.

Ed said...

During this time of year, I typically start my day a lot earlier and end it a lot earlier. This morning I was up at 4 am and down at the farm garden an hour later. I harvested peppers and cucumbers until it got light enough to see other things and then mowed. We were done and heading home by 7 am. I spent the morning working on a project and quite for the day at lunch time which was stuffed peppers and oven roasted potatoes and veggies, all from our garden that morning.

A few days ago, I couldn't get back to sleep and got up at 3 am and by the time 8 rolled around, I have several dozen jars of various types of pickles cooling on the counter. All this is harder though with livestock which requires more consistent scheduling.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, Tomato and cucumber salads have become one of my favorites, as are cucumber and onion salads with vinegar. We had them almost every day in Greece (odd to think that such a thing is a relatively recent development there, historically speaking).

If I do not get outside things done by 0900 or so in the morning, it becomes not physically impossible, but pretty unpleasant.

Leigh said...

Ed, I like your productivity! Definitely cooler in the mornings, and that usually lends itself to higher energy levels. Animals do make a difference, though, because they like their routine. Everything else must be worked around that.

TB, when my daughter was in Israel several years ago, she said salads were a common breakfast item. Must be a Mediterranean thing!

If I'm not out by 9 am, I don't even try. Unless it's something to do in the shade.

Rosalea said...

Love those colourful salads. We'll be waiting a while longer for the first ripe tomato. We have scrounged a few new spuds from around the edge of the potato patch. During the days of heat and humidity, we work outside in the AM, and inside in the PM. It cools back enough at night for comfortable sleeping, and I think we acclimatize to the weather after a few days. The verandah kitchen is up and running. So far just pickled beets, but the cucumbers are almost there, and beans are blooming. Soon we'll be in the thick of it. Drying herbs now.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, sounds like things are starting to happen in your garden!

I agree about acclimatizing. And I think common sense helps a lot as well. It amazes me when people think 80F is dangerously hot. What are they going to do when the self-appointed Powers-That-Be decide to start rationing electricity?