In My Garden – August 2021

In My Garden – August 2021

Okay, so it’s almost September and I am very late in getting this out to everyone. Who knew a puppy would require so much of my attention! She is a delight but also taking up any spare time that would have been devoted to writing about my current gardening activities. I  am still out there with my plants, just not spending the time writing about it.

Casey, puppy Shanna, and Quinn

Casey, puppy Shanna, and Quinn

 

Quinn and Shanna

Quinn and Shanna – pals

The garden has been flourishing despite cutbacks in my watering activities. Some plants actually seem to like less water, while others (the majority) are looking decidedly dejected.

I have been harvesting bush beans for several weeks now. Last year I planted a second crop in August, they didn’t produce any beans. This year I started the second crop earlier and, fingers crossed, there will be a second harvest before the cool weather of late fall shuts them down. I did spot some flowers this afternoon.

The zucchini plants were starting to get powdery mildew.  I gave them a harsh pruning (removing any leaves with mildew), a spray of neem oil and some organic fertilizer. Here they are mid prune. They are looking better and I will hopefully be able to continue the harvest for another month or so.

Zucchini

Zucchini – I was in the midst of the haircut and you can see the mildewed leaves

The mildew is a side effect of our typically foggy July and August. I can’t complain too much because the summers are also as much as 50 degrees F cooler here on the coast compared to inland temperatures.

Zucchini is one of my favorite summer vegetables for the grill.

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled zucchini and summer squash

It only needs a bit of olive oil and coarse salt. We eat it “plain”, with pesto, in toasted sandwiches, or chopped into a salad with tomatoes, red onions and feta cheese. Picked an hour before cooking it’s an entirely different vegetable than that you get at the store.

The broccoli and cauliflower plants are getting big but no signs of heading up yet. The netting is to keep the birds out.

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and Cauliflower

And there is almost always lettuce. That’s kale in the background left, arugula on the back right.

Lettuce

Lettuce

In my garden I have dahlias. They have been late, not as prolific with blooms, and a bit shorter in stature than the last couple of years. This could be because of our cooler and dryer weather, also because I am being stingy with the water. The flowers are still lovely, just not as many.

Dahlias

Dahlias

This plant is Daucus carota ‘Dara’, it’s a variety of Queen Anne’s lace or carrot flower. The flowers start out as a deep mahogany red, then fade to a lighter pink. In my garden it stands about 3 feet high. This is the first year I’ve grown it and I love its lacy appearance. Hopefully it will self seed itself for future plants. It’s very pretty in flower arrangements.

Daucus carota ‘Dara’

Another plant that is a butterfly magnet is this one, Trachelium caeruleum “Perennial Blue Lace Flower”. I planted it three years ago and it is really taking off this year.

Blue Lace Flower

It will die back in early winter when I will cut it almost to the ground. I love the billowy feel to it and butterflies are drawn to the nectar.

August Sweet PeansMuch to my surprise the sweet peas are still going strong after a late start. My grandmother always grew them along the side fence of her garden in England, their scent reminds me of wonderful summers spent with her. I don’t remember ever harvesting them this late, I think it’s a function of the very cool summer we’ve had so far.

I’ve ordered some plants to redo this area of the garden. Looks sad and somewhat barren doesn’t it? I have waited until closer to our rainy season but the plants will be arriving towards the end of next month. Fingers crossed we will get some rain in October.

I was inspired by a story I read about Kew Gardens in the U.K. It seems that they re-dig, re-vitalize the soil, and re-plant some beds each spring. I plan to do the same here (although in the fall), replanting many of the plants that don’t seem to be thriving. There are self sown columbines, some geums, yarrow, salvias, and tidy tips. But, they all look stunted. Stay tuned for next months update.

The weather is warming. We generally see rising temperatures in September and October, our Indian summer. I hope to be able to take advantage of our outdoor dining area without the space heaters.

Thankfully the smoke hasn’t been too bad here on the coast.

Al fresco dining

Al fresco dining

Here is Shanna with her favorite garden toy, an old mop she stole from the garage when my back was turned. She runs around the garden with it as if she was Harry Potter at a quidditch match.

Shanna and the mop

Shanna and the mop

I am calling this the August In My Garden even though there are only 2 days left in the month.

Happy gardening everyone; stay well and get vaccinated.