Saturday, August 5, 2017

In A Dumpy Funk

It's been a long time since I've had a gardening season that has been so challenging.

We started spring and the first half of summer with very cool, very wet weather and a lack of sunshine which did nothing to get my little plants and seeds off to a good start.

Everything was slow, slow, slow.  Then without a period of gradual warm-up, temperatures that were hotter and more humid than normal arrived.  Along with nary a drop of rain for weeks.

Cool weather crops that didn't even thrive in the previously cool weather came to an abrupt halt in the broiling temps.

The veggies needing heat started to grow but without any moisture other than what we could provide by watering, which you all know is simply not the same as natural rainfall, haven't developed properly.

Then we turned the calendar to August 1st and, just like that, our temps dropped again leaving the garden, and the gardener, more perplexed than ever.

We're down into the fifties at night and not much higher than the sixties during the day.

I'm still waiting to get a second picking of peas and beans have barely formed.

Flea beetles are making lace of all the brassicas left in the garden.  Brussels sprout plants aren't producing any sprouts.  Cabbages aren't forming heads.

The cabbage moths set up housekeeping in my second planting of broccoli which ended up so infested with worms that the poultry feasted on all those heads.

Cucumbers and peppers started to form slowly, but now are wondering where the heat they need has gone.

Birds have attacked our blueberry crop, and we've had to cover the bushes hoping we still get a partial harvest.

Pumkins and squash are green, tennis ball size at the biggest.

Oh, my.  Such a dismal picture I've painted.

I'll admit I have a strong urge to let my Debbie Downer thinking take over and start to clean out the garden, calling it quits for the season.

But.  Hope springs eternal, and there's still a chance (please say there is) this weather will blow away as quickly as it came and we'll find ourselves in a long, beautiful end-of-summer/fall period of perfect growing conditions.  It really could happen.  And then I'll be totally embarrassed that I carried on in this grump-dump, hissy-fit sort of a way.

No, it's not the end of the world.  But I do feel responsible for providing a large part of our food supply for each year.  And this year, I don't see how we could have our usual plentiful harvest.

I've made lots of notes for next season to help, at least, work around some of the garden's difficulties, but bottom line, it's hard to fight Mother Nature.

We won't starve.  To say we're so much better off than early pioneers who had no alternatives regarding their food supply other than what they could grow themselves is an understatement.  We won't suffer anywhere near as much financially as a hard-working farmer who loses his field crops and income due to the whims of the weather.

And none of this will keep me from feeling eager for next year's garden.  So please excuse my grumbling this chilly Saturday morning.  I think I've gotten it out of my system by all this grousing.

Now I may just go start a small fire in the wood stove in the kitchen to take the chill off the house.  The view out the windows of the leaves on the trees starting to turn color (yes, they are) is kinda pretty.

25 comments:

  1. I'm a new follower, just found your blog this evening. I'm so sorry you had such a crummy gardening year so far. We did too in the Pacific northwest. Wet spring AND summer until a few weeks ago. We are finally getting to harvest a few things. Tonight's harvest was a little more normal. (I'll be sharing a picture soon.)

    I hope things perk up for your garden and you get an abundant fall harvest!

    ~ Emily from So Sunny Day

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    1. Welcome, Emily! And thanks for commenting. I appreciate your kind, encouraging words. I know other parts of the country have had even more gardening problems than I have. We're still getting some things to squirrel away for winter so it's not a total loss by any means. Just not up to what it usually is . . . and what I expect! Glad things are looking up a bit for your garden. Continued good luck on that!

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  2. Oh, Mama Pea, I'm right there with you. We've had a pretty miserable gardening season. I'm on my 3rd planting of zucchini and it's looking like I won't get a single one off the newest planting. The only thing that's plentiful so far is the weeds!

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    1. Mary - I am getting zucchini now . . . finally. But I've heard so many people (me included) who have had to plant zucchini and other seeds two and three times to get germination. What's with that!??!

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  3. Mother Nature seems to have lost her rhythm this season -- I've decided to roll with it and get out my long pants today -- who'd a thought -- long pants in August!

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    1. Marie - Would you believe I put on a sweatshirt the other morning? And wore it ALL day? Our leaves are actually turning color already. Good grief, what's going on??

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  4. Yesterday's high was 65*. Which worked out well for brush burning. I am STILL waiting on my first ripe tomato. Usually get one around July 20something. I haven't had any actual failures, but like you I am hoping for a long warm fall to enjoy tomatoes and bell peppers. I always plant bush beans late, so those are on the horizon as well. This week is supposed to be 70* and damp which is perfect for seeding fall lettuce.

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    1. SmartAlex - Yes, I want to plant some fall salad greens, too. (Hey, maybe that will bring warm weather back, huh?) I have green cherry tomatoes and they're about all I can hope for as far as ones to turn red! Here's to a looooong fall for all of us!

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  5. Oh, to need a fire! Yes, this has been an odd and most challenging summer here, too, but it sounds like ours has been better suited to gardening. This, too, shall pass....

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    1. Michelle - Yes, indeed, this will pass. And we can all probably count on next gardening season being completely different! As of now, I'm being very thankful, grateful and appreciative of whatever harvest I get from the plants. I really am!

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  6. Complain all you want! I sympathize with every word. You are not alone. I know other bloggers are complaining too.
    Mother Nature is in full control. Down here sometimes even September is warm. Let's hope the rest of August and September are better for you.

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    1. Glenda - If Mother Nature would just give us NORMAL weather so we knew what to do! I can imagine your Septembers do stay warm. I remember even in Illinois that so often the first month of school was uncomfortably warm.

      Thanks for giving me permission to complain. You're a nice person! ;o)

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  7. Your weather pattern has been the same as ours and already we can feel the winter starting to arrive. But as you say, we can still have a long end of summer calmness which might allow the plants in the vegetable garden time to catch up.

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    1. Oh, Vera, I have to guiltily admit I've been very lax in keeping up with your posts this summer. (Winter is coming and a less frantic time, right?) I'm so hoping this crazy weather has not had too severe an effect on your market gardening.

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  8. You have just confirmed for me that it has indeed been strange weather this growing season. I had banana peppers and eggplant that didn't grow for two months and were producing very little. Cukes started out great. All plants are dead now. Ornamental gourds are struggling. Green peas were beautiful, now dying. Its just been weird.

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    1. Theresa Young - Yes! Plants that you wouldn't have though would do well have and others have been a complete bust. Oh, the challenges of trying to produce our own food, eh?

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  9. It has truly been a weird summer. Our tomatoes are still no red in sight, other than cherry type. Our bush beans are doing ok but not a blossom on the pole beans. It's been so cool that things like lettuces have just kept going and my daughter's already put in the fall seeds for spinach and radishes. Our garden serves 11...the 3 of us, my daughter and her family, my mother and our 2 tenants. Corn is coming in but I would say that it may be a bit stunted due to excess rain and lack of heat. But the ears we have had are still delicious. We just had another 3 days of rain and 50's at night and 60's in the day. I wish we could use our wood stove but we disassemble it every spring and move it out.

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    1. Athanasia - Huge credit to you for maintaining a garden that serves 11! Your temps are like ours. When we went to bed last night I said, "I hope we don't get a frost tonight." I was jesting (temp was only in the 50s) but hubby didn't think it was funny. :o(

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  10. I sure hope this summer is a one-off. I will be shocked if my tomatoes ripen by September. Some years, it is so difficult to keep a stiff upper lip where the garden is concerned... hugs to you... xoxox

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    1. Susan - We've all been having weird summers, haven't we? Geesh.

      My garlic is about a 50% failure this year. Don't ask why . . . 'cause I don't know.

      Hugs back at cha, friend!

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  11. Hi Mama Pea :) I am with you on the dumpy funk regarding the garden. My peppers, strawberries, ground cherries, lavender and blue fescue grass never grew at all. I have a few green beans but the yellow ones and cucumbers seem to be withering away! I'm worried for my tomatoes because we're having 6C nights now, we actually had the heat on in the bedroom last night. But I guess it was a good year for me to start, so I could see the worst of it and what will really survive here during a lousy summer.

    I guess the picture is dismal, but it's pretty darn realistic. All of the root veggies seem to be okay here, the carrots and beets, potatoes and green onions...and the radishes did well in early spring too. The lettuce really thrived for me. But, besides the herbs, my summer veggies are cause for worry. No it's not the end of the world, but it's pretty disappointing considering all the work and planning (and hope!).

    I think next year I'll stick to the plants that did well this year. And if I'm able (and can find cheap supplies) I might build a make-shift green house for tomatoes. You're right, we can't fight Mother Nature. Maybe this is a sign of a great summer next year? :)

    And for me, I'm hoping that my winter garden works out. In this climate, it might be more successful than my summer garden this year!!

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    1. Rain - I'm going to be very interested in seeing what you can do with your winter garden! What fun you'll have experimenting with that.

      As I've said before, makes no never mind how long we garden, we learn something every year!

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  12. Although we could not be very far apart geographically, our weather is so different. Last week was a nightmare with the humidity pushing us to 40 degrees celcius. Lots in my gardens just wilted - even my sun and heat loving peppers. My lettuce is so done, even with keeping it shaded and morning sun only. Its been a difficult, challenging year for gardens. Even the potatoes in my bags were not great. A decent crop but they were not big. Sigh.

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    1. MrsDM - Yep, no matter how you look at it, I think the weather patterns have been way too crazy this season. Gardening has always been a challenge, but this year so many of us are just shaking our heads . . . and being grateful for anything we get!!

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