August 1: The August Garden

Extreme heat has taken a bit of a toll on the garden. Our temperatures have hit or exceeded 100F for eleven days now, and have been over 90F for 24 days. We've had .08 inch of rain since July 1. I planted some lettuce today, but it will be a miracle if it germinates in this heat. After all, it reached 108F this afternoon. That's hot.

Some of the peppers are suffering from sun scald. When I spot them, they get picked and used in my sweet pickle relish.

I stayed inside in the air conditioned kitchen most of the day, and made four pints of pasta sauce from a Mrs. Wages mix. I taste tested this, and liked it better than the chili base I canned last week. I was planning on making jalapeno jelly, so picked a half dozen jalapenos to add to the six I had picked previously, and a couple of large peppers that had some sun scald on them. I donned my gloves and cleaned and seeded the hot peppers, but I was wondering just how hot they could be....I had no tears. I got my courage up and took a taste. It tasted just like a sweet green bell pepper! I tasted a seed. No heat at all! So, instead of hot pepper jelly, I got the cucumbers out of the refrigerator and made another batch of sweet pickle relish.

Four pints of pasta sauce and seven half-pints of sweet pickle relish.

I was cutting back some overgrown borage today, when I swore I could smell a melon....that sweet, musky aroma of a fully ripe cantaloupe. I was standing by the whiskey barrel where I had planted two varieties of melon sent to me by Dan, and I knew there were only two unripe melons on those plants. But I could smell melon! Finally I spied a tiny, softball sized melon that had been hidden by the borage. It was a yellowish color, rather than the gray-green of the aforementioned unripe ones. I reached over to touch it, held it in my hand, and it slipped from the vine and landed at my feet. I had a ripe melon! It was very warm to the touch, from the heat of the day, so I brought it inside and placed it in the refrigerator to cool down a bit. I'll be tasting it soon!

Tiny, 10 ounce melon. I think it's a Petit Gris, as it was hanging off the right side of the barrel.

And now.....

The garden in August

I don't know who is going to win the battle here, Juliet or Zucchini. I thought there would be plenty of room for both, but Juliet is getting quite pushy.

Somewhere in the marigolds, a lemon cucumber lurks.

The east garden bed, looking north. Believe it or not, some salad greens (including Romaine) are actually existing in this heat.

I can see a good crop of tomatoes that need to be picked in the morning.

The fall beets, onions and carrots don't seem to mind the heat.

The east garden, looking south. Those parsnips had to be corralled with stakes and garden twine to make room for the lettuce that was just planted, and the spinach that will be planted soon. The parsnips are over 3' high...those are 4' stakes screwed into the sides of the bed.

And the other side of the east garden, still looking south. Most of the determinate tomatoes are along this fence line.

The north garden. We have another batch of baby sparrows in the birdhouse, but the mother is finally getting used to me. She doesn't stop feeding them when I'm right there picking strawberries now. This is their second family this year.

I really have a difficult time getting through the squash/pumpkin bed to reach the indeterminate tomatoes! I have to claw my way through a bed of sunflowers by the fence.

Four more pumpkins are nearly ready to pick, and the one that was picked last week is still sitting on my kitchen counter.

The volunteer tomatoes that I moved out by the compost bin are doing well. One of them has a few tomatoes on it and I'm hoping it's the cherry, as I don't like the Tumbling Toms that are feeding us right now. I think the other came from a Celebrity, so it's anybody's guess what it will turn out to be.

I found some baby pumpkins, so maybe we'll have ripe ones a bit closer to Halloween! There's something just not quite right about big orange pumpkins in July and August. Powdery mildew has really taken over in the pumpkin patch.

I have so many butternut squash! This one measures 12" in length. It's a good thing it's a powdery mildew resistant variety, because it's growing with the pumpkins, and their leaves are just covered in mildew.

And that's the garden in August.

OOPS...I almost forgot! It was that good.


  1. Thank goodness you smelled that ripe melon and went looking for it! What a shame it would have been to miss it. I can practically smell it from here!

    The garden looks lush albeit just a bit heat weary. Good idea on the parsnip corral. Looks very tidy and contained.

    Your squash patch is looking like my jungle at the moment. It's fund to see such growth but it makes navigating around the garden beds a real pain.

  2. KitsapFG, the melon is soooo sweet! I'm just now eating my last bite, and I didn't even share with Mr. H! I made him take one bite, just so he could see how good it was, but he let me eat the rest since I grew it ;-) Of course, he had visions of fresh strawberries on his ice cream, so he wasn't very upset about missing out on the melon. I actually had left over strawberries for the freezer tonight.

  3. I'm glad you found the looks fantastic! I'm stuck with the grocery store ones for another year-sigh. If we could combine your heat with my cold weather, we might get a decent temp! Your garden looks really really good despite the heat.

  4. Yum, that melon looks good! Thanks for your photo's I really love them. :)

  5. The melon looks fantastic!! My summer garden did well, but it's amazing how lush things can get with SUN! Mine did fine, again. Not complaining. I got lots of produce, but it was never so full. Yours is just a wonderland.

  6. You are taunting me with that melon. I so love them. I wish I could grow them and have them actually produce something. I have done it in the past, but it's really iffy here.

    My serranos this year were really sweet. They had the tiniest bit of spice to them. They taste really good, but they aren't spicy. I can understand that since we haven't had a lot of heat, but in your weather they should be burning hot. I hope my jalapenos are spicier.

    Oh wow. Your weather would make me move farther north. Our high was only 86. Our low was 52. The air conditioner has barely been on at all. We had rain too, lots of it, over 10" in July.

  7. Granny, i'll be using the same mix for my spaghetti sauce later. Did you add any extras to yours? Despite the heatwave, your garden is still holding it's own - and kickin' butt! I'm happy for you, as mine just isn't producing as well as expected. That muskmelon certainly looks yummy!

  8. Good morning, Sue, Hidinginmygarden (you're welcome!), Ribbit and Daphne (please tell me the jalapenos will get hotter as they get older!).

    EG, I didn't add anything to mine. I'm concerned about food safety in home canned foods, especially low acid foods and tomatoes, so I go strictly by the approved recipes. Anything I add will be at the point of cooking/using the sauce, not in the canning. I wish I could find an approved recipe for making the sauce from scratch. Lots of them out there if one has a pressure canner, but I don't have one.

  9. Hey, granny. Your garden is an amazing inspiration. My soil must be utterly anemic. Compared to yours, my plants are tiny diseased pathetic strugglers.

    Enjoy your relish! Someday I'll be doing that too.

  10. Oh, Stefaneener...I'm sure your garden is just beautiful! I have a few diseased, pathetic strugglers myself. Notice I didn't show a photo of the west garden bed, where the self watering containers are. It's a disaster :-(

  11. You're making me want to tear out all the useless trees and bushes and build more planter boxes. I love seeing

  12. Cheryl, I love seeing, too ;-D

    I'm trying to plod through the heat to the west garden, where I'm tearing out spent flowers and pruning back overgrown ones, and cutting ugly foliage from the ugly tomato plants. It's over 100 out there....101.8 in the shade to be exact, but not as bad as yesterday's 108!

  13. Awesome pics Granny! It looks like your garden is thriving despite the heat and low rainfall. You are so close to the 300# mark for harvest :) .

  14. Crystabel, I'm counting on those pumpkins and squash to put me over the mark, although the way the tomatoes are coming on, they just might do it all by themselves!

  15. Granny, your garden is absolutely beautiful. Everything is so healthy and bountiful! I really like that parsnip corral, some plants really need intervention at times. And I can't forget about that melon, it looks delicious. It does look like a Petite Gris with its grayish tones on the rind. Seed savers said they typically grow 2-3lbs but with it being the first one I would certainly take it :-) I keep looking for melons on mine but have yet to find one. I am hoping for lots of heat this August and maybe I will be about to harvest a few in September.

  16. Dan, I found another almost ripe melon in the barrel! That's three for the two varieties you sent. Since they are both in the same container, it's a bit difficult to tell which is which. Anyway, I coaxed a bunch of vines from behind the barrel, and lo and behold, there was a melon hiding behind it. Lots of blossoms now, and the vines are traveling toward the beans on one side and the strawberry bed on the other....I'm going to train them to go toward the strawberries, because that bed is half empty and has room for them to sprawl. I should really get some wire fencing up behind them, as they keep trying to climb the wood fence! Dan, that melon was as sweet as honey, and absolutely perfectly ripened!