On Discontent

The August garden is again this year most unsatisfactory. An almost total absence of rain, high temperatures and high humidity make for a discontented gardener and a stressed garden.

I  cannot, and maybe dare not, water lavishly. It just feel wrong to water when it’s so dry. How perverse is that? It must be coming from my childhood when water was rationed in times of drought, and watering was all but forbidden. Those things stay with you, you know. So I water enough for the plants, (well, most of them at least) to survive, but they aren’t striving. At the same time, it’sprobably worthy to note what is doing well, and what is not:

I should be harvesting bushel of tomatoes, but stressed out plants don’t produce generously – and even less when they’ve been stricken by blight. Next year, I am unlikely to plant Cherokee Purple (that I love!), Green Zebra, White Wonder and even Amish Paste in the lower garden. Happy to report that Arkansa Taveller, Hawaiian Pinepapple, Valencia and San Marzano are holding on.

I should be harvesting pecks of green beans, but stressed out plants don’t produce well – and even less when they have to face an attack of  voracious Mexican bean beetles.

The cabbage is sulfurous. Even the chicken won’t eat it. Raw or cooked.

The grasshoppers are having a field day with the basil.

All the squashes have succumbed to squash bugs and/or squash borers. I harvested the last zucchini in early August. There will be no winter squash to store.

Cucumbers never made it: cucumber beetles were having way too much fun sapping all the juice for their little stems. Actually to be fair, I harvested 6 miniature fruit in July.

The thick wide stemmed chard from Italy has been devoured by caterpillars and blister beetles.

The corn is over. I did not plant enough.

On the bright side, the peppers look good and producing adequately – and should produce more as the weather cools off – if the stink bugs don’t decide they like peppers.

The okra is happy. I did not plant enough.

The cape gooseberry is littering the ground with its tiny fruit. I love them although they are a pain to harvest and shell.

The sweet potatoes look incredibly lush.

The  other Swiss chard (Luccullus, Forrhook Giant and Ruby) are doing well… and the beets have been wonderful.

The chayote would like more water but is growing new shoots to harvest.

The cannelini beans have pods full of seeds.

The fall raspberries are swelling (they do get water).

The cherries tomatoes are taking over. The German tomatoes whose seeds I got from a now-deceased former neighbor of mine are thriving in the special rich bed I gave them in the upper garden.

The summer squash plants seeded three weeks ago in the upper garden shows – so far, cross my fingers –  no sign of being attacked by anything.

We’ve had our first fig harvest and our first grape harvest (although I do have a lot to learn about growing grapes).

The fall beans have germinated. So have the fall beets.

Ah, YES!!!! Fall is coming, I better hurry up and start to seriously plant for it. Rain may be coming – and lots of it too – this week-end.

Maybe that will wash away the discontent…




3 thoughts on “On Discontent”

  • Sylvie,

    I echo every sentiment you have about this horrid summer and its effects on crops. Bean beetles, grasshoppers and stink bugs have been legion and I can’t keep up.We lost a crop of Zolfino beans to the evil beetles, and the stink bugs made lace out of my second (optimistic) planting of Zephyr sqaush.And grasshoppers love our basil, our bay laurel and our fig (leaves, but even so- I can hear them chomping as I wash produce). But on the bright side your grapes are beautiful, as were your currants- congratulations! And it is raining here as I write. May it come your way and wash away summer…….

  • Thanks Vanille. A small but delicious (and very welcome) harvest this year. Irene passed well East and North of us. We only have a little wind and less than one inch of gentle rain (which we needed very very badly as it’s quite dry in our area). Thank you for thinking about us!

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