Vegetable Garden Update: July

by Tammy Taylor~

Well, where to start??  This year my garden has struggled.  Hard.  It started by a bull jumping my garden fence and trompling the tenderly transplanted seedlings to the ground.  Not to be detered, I replanted by seed.  A late start, yes.  Buyt I just have to have my garden!

But spring skipped us.  I mean ALL of it.  We got no storms as is typical in our NE Texas spring season, but we got no rain either.  Then the heat & humidity of our summers hit – again with no rain. It’s a sad thing, but I’m making adjustments to try to squeak by.

The veggie garden has been a struggle this year. As much as I hate being Debbie Downer, unless we get rain soon my garden will be done for the year. #TxHomesteader

With a drought, oftentimes we struggle with grasshopper damage.  Master Naturalists have explained to me that when the spring rains come, it often washes away many of those pesky grasshopper eggs.  But without the spring rains, they ALL hatch instead!  And the hordes have certainly descended upon us.

I was able to harvest some of our green beans last month to enjoy, but the grasshoppers have now eaten the plants to the stems…

Grasshopper damage. The veggie garden has been a struggle this year. As much as I hate being Debbie Downer, unless we get rain soon my garden will be done for the year. #TxHomesteader

So I cut the green bean plants to the ground and laid them over the planting rows.  The roots of my green beans are still serving the soil by way of nitrogen, and the plants laid over onto the soil helps cover it.  Nature abhors a vacuum and bare soil will be covered by her one way or the other – oftentimes that means weeds.

Focus On Garden Survivors

Since we’re not getting rain, I’m trying to focus on the few things remaining in the garden.  I still have water in the underground cistern to keep some of the plants irrigated.  But when the cistern runs dry it’s my cue to give up on the garden.  As anyone who’s ever gone through a drought knows, you can’t pour enough water on a plant during those times.  The parched ground wicks it away as soon as it’s received!

So right now I’m focused on the zucchini, yellow squash and pumpkin, along with the tomatoes, bell, Anaheim and poblano peppers. After I water the garden I’m using this Homestead Hack at the base of my plants to keep a drip of water at a time going to them  So far although they’re struggling, they’re still alive.  Time will tell – we’re praying for rain!

Hack for keeping plants watered in a drought. The veggie garden has been a struggle this year. As much as I hate being Debbie Downer, unless we get rain soon my garden will be done for the year. #TxHomesteader

There is a surviving volunteer cantaloupe vine that’s actually provided me with a single sweet, juicy cantaloupe to enjoy.  That may be the only one I get from it, but at least the vine is also helping to cover the soil as long as I can keep it alive.

Juicy Cantaloupe. The veggie garden has been a struggle this year. As much as I hate being Debbie Downer, unless we get rain soon my garden will be done for the year. #TxHomesteader

I’ve harvested a couple of very small tomatoes but when it’s this hot & dry it’s hard to get the plant to set fruit.  Same thing with the peppers.  My herbs planted in my Edible Landscape are doing reasonably well and I’m able to harvest them occasionally.

But as much as I hate being a Debbie Downer, unless we get rain soon my garden will be done for the year.  I may attempt to plant a fall garden but with my severe ragweed allergies that’s always hit & miss too since there’s no way I can keep it watered.  If Mother Nature keeps it watered for me during ragweed season I can have a successful fall garden.  But she’s not been doing a very good job of that this year so…

Hopefully your garden’s doing better.  What’s growing in your area and what are you harvesting?  Maybe I can live vicariously through your garden instead!

~TxH~

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13 thoughts on “Vegetable Garden Update: July

  1. candace Ford

    I just love hearing about what everyone is planting! An update on my garden – the 6 Early Girl toms are doing well, the little one that looked near death when I got them planted has picked up speed and doing fine. there are beginning toms, a couple of quite nice sized already – slicers! I found a sack of Yukon gold seed potatoes withered up in the garden stuff that had gotten moved from the utility room to the wonder barn and put them in – they may not do anything but I had the space and the energy. The rhubarb that the birdman planted in one of the raised beds last year went gangbusters this year and he has been putting a cup or so in with the blueberries when he makes pies. I just saw a deer out across the field but by the time I got my field glasses up to my face she had disappeared into the tall grass on the edge. We haven’t seen many deer in a couple of years, figured the cougars had gotten to too many of them. Forest fires continue to be a problem in Oregon, last I read there were 17 different locations. I know that many of them are nature and in the broad scheme of things they are good in their cycle but every time I see someone drive by with a cigarette in their mouth I say a quick prayer that the driver just be content with polluting his lungs and doesn’t toss the live butt out his window. Yesterday we got the netting up on the blueberries, they are starting to ripen and I enjoy picking them. speaking of heat – I have these scarf things that have some kind of pellets in them, when soaked in water they puff up and as they evaporate around your neck they cool you. Seems like they would be a life saver where it’s as hot as you are there in Texas.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I know of the scarf with pellets you describe Candy, and I have several. I guess for me the jury’s out on whether or not they actually keep me cooler but anything’s a help #amiright?? ~TxH~

      Reply
  2. Nancy

    Did I forget to mention, I don’t miss the heat, grasshoppers, or the cracks in the earth from everything drying out. I never saw cracks, in real life, until I moved there. (Here for you).

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    I just have pots here in the apartments. The potatoes are doing very well. The strawberry plants my friend gave me are not dying but they’re not giving me any berries, either. My beans are doing well, no beans yet, but they got a late start. I’m going to transplant the 2 volunteer raspberry plants tomorrow. I put the potatoes in the pot that had the raspberries last year, and there’s 2 babies coming up. Those raspberries were so dead, there was no green what so ever, so I put potatoes in the pot. But those two babies made it, I was so surprised when they came up. So they’ll get their own pot and be able to grow to their hearts content.

    Reply
  4. Ken

    Weird about the grasshoppers. As you know I live in the southern part of our county and I’ve not seen a one. Maters aren’t setting but the peppers are doing great!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Grasshoppers are brutal once again this year Ken. Walking in the pastures results in wave after wave of them with each & every step. ~TxH~

      Reply
  5. candace

    Oh my gosh, my indoor thermometer says it’s 72 in the shade right now. I can see the afternoon wind has picked up. It is awfully dry in the whole state right now with a forest fire raging on the east side of the state. A neighbor who had been haying for everyone (did ours) left this afternoon. He takes the water tender from our station sometimes. They like to have him because he’s one of those guys who can fix anything. He’s also glad to have the extra money that fire fighters get but everyone around thinks the world of him and worries anyway. On a cheerful note two hummers are at the feeder just outside the living room window and they are sharing not being the poopy little greedy pills they usually are.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      “… not being the poopy little greedy pills they usually are”. LOL!!! ~TxH~

      Reply
  6. candace

    Even here in the usually damp NW it has been a dry summer. We don’t have much Vegetable garden this year as the barn was going up, keeping everyone distracted, we were in DC for a memorial service for the b-in-law of the birdman who lives with me and from there to Ohio to empty out the birdman’s mother’s house as she has had to move into assisted living and then I was gone for 3 weeks on a marvelous vacay to Warsaw, Prague, Vienna and Venice (with a day trip to Florence) so wasn’t much help, Lots of dirt got moved around because of excavations for the barn but not exactly where or how we were going to do it. So, I got in my usual 6 Early Girl tomato plants which are doing well and last year’s kale is still producing and I planted more which is going gangbusters (lots of horse manure water that I mix up and keep in buckets in strategic areas of the garden). This year the Vandalay cherry tree produced quite a few delish cherries, some of which are in the food dryer roaring away in the kitchen now. We had tented it w/ bird mesh (what a job) but the birds here will ravish the fruit producers. Today we put up netting on the 4 ancient (well, older than I) blueberry plants – got something like 130 lbs of berries off those babies last year. I was giving them away right and left, froze lots of them, the birdman bakes his own bberry pie.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh, I would be SO excited if my neighbors wanted to give me fresh blueberries!! My faves… It sounds like you’ve been a busy girl, not much time to garden with a schedule like that. Hopefully you had an awesome memory-making trip overseas though. My garden may be on its last dying breath these days, our record-breaking temps have spiked and I just can’t keep the plants watered no matter what I do. today’s 107 and tomorrow’s 109 with no relief in sight! I feel like we may spontaneously combust! ~TxH~

      Reply
  7. Pam Kaufman

    Here in Michigan it has been a hot dry summer and I ave had to water to keep my plants alive. Luckily I planted a small garden his year (tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, bell peppers, jalapenos, brussel sprouts and broccoli). I am surprised how well the broccoli and brussels are doing in the heat. My bell peppers and jalapeno plants look awful but they are producing a little but I doubt I will get enough jalapenos to pickle which is a bummer. The zucchini and cukes are slow but doing good. I have been battling stripped cucumber beetles for the last couple years and after trying many natural treatments I broke down and used a pesticide to get rid of them. I really hated doing it and plan to have row covers for next year. Gardening is always a crap shoot. You just never know what mother nature has up her sleeve!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve been cutting down my planted rows one by one to try to reel it into a small garden of just tomatoes and various peppers. But dang with this heat it’s hard to keep anything watered no matter what I do. It just may not survive the week, and that makes me tremendously sad… ~TxH~

      Reply

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