Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June? Really?

Lately,  the weather has had me scratching my head in confusion.  Is it really June?  I've been grumbling  and longing for sandal weather as I sort through the sock basket to find four pairs of socks every morning.  Usually, the sandals are dusted off and my sock-folding hiatus is in full-swing by mid-May.  Now, I'm wondering if I should remind the girls to pack umbrellas and sweatshirts as they head off to end-of-the year swim parties.  My British neighbor jokes about the funny English weather we've been having, but I'm pretty sure he's just kidding when he says he brought these gray days over from across the pond.  He can't really do that, can he? (CRAZY FACT #1:  tomorrow, London's forecast calls for sunny weather that's two degrees WARMER than what we're having.)

It looks like March outside.  The typical early June day in my garden is 85 degrees and sunny.  Our usual June rainfall can be measured by the teaspoonful.  So why am I rushing out between downpours to catch photos of the garden? (you might as well benefit from my wet, frizzy hair...  this is a rare full-view of the garden... or as full as I could get without standing on the roof).

The vegetable plants are as confused as the Portland transplants I talked to yesterday who are wondering why they ever moved down here to sunny California (CRAZY FACT #2:  On Saturday, Portland will be a sunny 83 degrees.  I'll be enjoying showers and a cool 64 degrees.  Seriously.) The heat lovers (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, etc.) are kind of sitting around and waiting for the heat of summer.  When the real heat hits, they'll go crazy and grow so quickly that their progress is visible on a daily basis, but right now, the tomatoes inching along, slowly but steadily setting a few fruits here and there.

The summer squash are blooming, but the bees seem to be in hiding.  I had to take reproduction into my own hands and play the role of bee to get these two to grow.

The plant that I thought was a bush acorn isn't so bushy after all.  I think it must be the Winter Luxury pumpkin (which means things will get a little wild and crazy soon, since I didn't leave it enough room to truly vine!)  (In other news, I REALLY need to work out a better seedling-labelling method.  Like YESTERDAY!)

There are some garden residents that enjoy this cool weather. I've actually got tiny little heads of broccoli and cauliflower forming

I actually have some real celery stalks.  They're still small, but if I wait until all of the plants are full grown I have no idea how we'd use it all at once! 

Also, we can't forget my friendly garden Alternaria Solani, aka  Early Blight.  It's making itself at home on a few of my tomato leaves -- mostly just the oldest, bottom leaves of my biggest plants.  

What am I going to do about it? Pretty much nothing other than removing the infected leaves.  I toyed with the idea of spraying a fungicide, but then that got complicated.  Copper-based sprays are organic but hurt earthworms.  Daconil is a fairly safe non-organic fungicide that is very effective if sprayed at 7-10 day intervals.  But do I really want to start spraying chemicals around a garden where my baby plays, even if they're been proven relatively safe so far?  I was relieved when I read this from Redwood Barn Nursery's Don Shor. While I usually roll my eyes at people who try to assure me that the heat here isn't that bad because it's a DRY heat (like that REALLY matters when the temperature is 105!), it turns out that the fungus among us DO care whether the weather is wet or dry.  They don't fare well in our dry heat.  I just have to wait for the weather to get back to normal and the beastly summer heat should take care of the problem for me.

(by the way, if you have some strange tomato symptoms  that you can't identify, try googling ipm + tomato + your state.  There are some great, free, online resources available.)

In other news, my twelve year old daughter wants a bikini for the end-of -school swim party she's invited to, and I had something like this in mind. 
 The up-side of this weather?  I may get to dodge that discussion entirely, and she'll have to go wearing something like this (she's totally just that big.  Just a little girl.   No, I'm not in denial.  I totally deny being in denial....)


  1. We have had a really interesting, unusual spring in Ks also. .extra windy. .record high temps early March. .wind. .100 degree days. .lots of clouds. .wind. .NO rain. .and did I mention the wind. .many days with gusts up to 30-50mph!! My garden doesn't like that either. .nor do I!! Hope your plants come out of their confused stupor soon!

  2. The weather in Sacramento is killing me! I got hail the size of peas yesterday and today I went to look at my veggie garden and my beautiful eggplant leaves all have holes in them along with my bean plants. I've never seen anything like this before and I've lived here a long time.

  3. Your garden looks beautiful, despite the weather. I'm still enjoying my spring cabbage while I wait for the heat (it will come, right?). And LOL on the swimsuit!

  4. Hey -- you've got some good growth on those plants despite this terrible weather. That's good! It's gotta warm up sometime!