Garden in mid-summer

At the end of July, our garden’s results are mixed.  I was thrilled with our hollyhocks: this was the first year we got them to flower.  The flowers in general have done OK.  The vegetables, however, are much more of a mixed bag.

There have been some good surprises, like the red and yellow cherry tomatoes, three or four plants that sprouted

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes

unbidden.  Perhaps their seeds were intermixed in the packages of Amish Paste and Black from Tula tomatoes I ordered from Seed Savers; otherwise the seeds might have been in our compost.  Either way around, our daughter enjoys plucking ripe cherry tomatoes from the vine as an after-school snack.  The garlic I planted last October is drying in the garage.  Carrots and basil also look to be doing OK, although basil isn’t as prolific this year as it’s been in years past.  Beets, which were an abject failure last year, are coming along nicely.

The two tomato varieties noted above are perplexing.  I expected them to thrive with this summer’s hot weather.  The plants are leafy enough and look healthy.  But most of them have only two or three hard green fruits, and each has a good half-dozen flowers that have just dried up.  It’s not lack of water: if we don’t get rain, I get liberal with the hose.  Right now it looks like my dream of sun-dried tomato paste is drying up.

Withered flowers on tomato plant

Withered flowers on tomato plant

Kale, which was prolific last year, is languishing.  The plants haven’t gotten at all big.  By this time last year, we could eat kale twice a week.  My best guess now is that July’s unseasonable heat has damaged these plants; kale especially likes cool weather.

The other cause might be a garden too densely planted for its own good.  I’d applied for one of Morris County’s community garden plots, with the intention of putting all my root vegetables there.  This would have doubled our arable land, but we were turned down.  Instead, I planted the garden pretty densely.  There’s a bit of room since I’ve harvested the garlic, but not much.  Wine grapes do well when densely planted, but vegetables like elbow room.

Vegetable garden, mid summer

Vegetable garden in mid summer. Too many plants?


About Peter, a/k/a sourdoughdaddy

Husband, dad, personal trainer, cross-country skier, trail runner, writer.
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3 Responses to Garden in mid-summer

  1. nina says:

    no picture of the hollyhocks?

    We have a white double one and a purple double one

    We accidently got my mom’s bulbs and she took ours when we dropped her off from the garden centre.

  2. flyingtomato says:

    Thanks for the comment on my blog! I’m guessing your unseasonable heat is what caused the tomato blossoms to abort–anything above 90-95 and the blossoms start dropping. The plants will probably form more flowers and fruits once it cools down a bit.


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