Category Archives: Summer

Peak light

While it is the start to “official” summer, with the continuation of mainly dry, warm weather since February, it feels like we’ve been into summer for almost 2 months, and now it should be mid-summer.  I am smiling as I think about June 21, 2011, when most of us were either staying indoors, or braving wet weather as a cold front moved in for a few days.  Opposite spectrum.  With the forecast of another heat-wave presenting itself a few days after the solstice, it is going to be interesting to witness how the regions’ plants endure a long summer “drought”.

While we have had the occasional hot days without an evening westerly breezed to cool us off, the more typical afternoon winds have been coming around daily this last week, making for frequent watering needs everywhere in the garden.  It is hard to keep everybody hydrated very long!

Cherries are at prime right now, rather than closer to July 4th, strawberry season long gone, and blueberries coming on 2 to 3 weeks early!  Since early May, the local forests have given off their fir- and cedar- aromas normally detected only in later summer.

The CG is holding up in a more typical manner.  Squash and melons just take their time finally kicking in and growing, and they love the warmer weather.  Radishes and arugula have decided it’s time to bolt and flower, and beans are growing magnificently.  Earlier than anticipated, there are some green roma tomatoes, just found this morning while watering.  Maybe it will be the earliest tomato season I’ve witnessed!  And there are even some chile peppers.  The local four-legged browsers are leaving evidence of lurking nearby, munching on succulent apple leaf, and dogwood tips, but have not breached the deer fence.

The fence is restretched and reinforced with another layer of netting in one area, while I contemplate a different method of using “smoke and mirrors” to visually fool the browsers as to the actual height of the fence.

Exponential growth kicking in!  Summer Solstice greetings!

Exponential growth kicking in! Summer Solstice greetings!

The longest days of the year in the northern hemisphere are here, providing exqusite summer evenings, and there is potent light energy coming through right now.  Enjoy summer in your yard or out in a local park or forest, or in any way you are able, that lifts your spirits!

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Musings during another heat wave

We are having our share of heat waves this summer, interspersed with quick blips of cooler temps and a day of badly needed rain a week ago.  Hooray, no watering for 3 days!  But that was about it.  We are nearing the height of summer, and it’s nice to take a few moments out from the incessant yard chores, to finally sit and watch the jujube skippers and cabbage moth loopers flitting about on the zinnias.  Three turkey vultures are catching heat currents and soaring high above the nearby forest, and above all this the cloud sylphs are shape-shifting.  The Stargazer lilies are in peak form, releasing their exquisite perfume.  There are even a couple of roses open, having survived a few deer nibblings.  Weeds are happy, too, but I am just letting them stay in place for awhile longer.

These cloud-sylphs demanded my attention by literally taking on the shapes of jellyfish in the space of 2 minutes.  As they passed over the street, they retracted their "tentacles" after another 5 minutes.  I think they were having too much fun!

These cloud-sylphs demanded my attention by literally taking on the shapes of jellyfish in the space of 2 minutes. As they passed over the street, they retracted their “tentacles” after another 5 minutes. I think they were having too much fun!

Actually taken in June-2013; lots of chemtrail action overhead.  An eerie combination of a chemtrail and a sundog that came into formation after the jet flew off.

Actually taken in June-2013; lots of chemtrail action overhead. An eerie combination of a chemtrail and a sundog that came into formation after the jet flew off.  The sun above caused a shadow below the chemtrail.

Snakefly!  A treat to see one land outside my patio door.  This is a female, with that long ovipositor at the end.  These are some of nature's natural pest controllers.  She is about 1.5" long.

Snakefly! A treat to see one land outside my patio door. This is a female, with that long ovipositor at the end. These are some of nature’s natural pest controllers. She is about 1.5″ long.

When an artichoke thistle flower resembles a lotus flower.  Nature's magical geometry.

When an artichoke thistle flower resembles a lotus flower. Nature’s magical geometry.

Beautiful Icicle radishes...hassled by a swarm of flea beetles, but they only bother the leaves.  We try to eat the radishes faster than they can.

Beautiful Icicle radishes…hassled by a swarm of flea beetles, but they only bother the leaves. We try to eat the radishes faster than they can.

Entering the peak season of maturity: lettuce overlapping with bush beans, squash blossoms, baby zucchini, and green tomatoes!  July 23-2014

Entering the peak season of maturity: lettuce overlapping with bush beans, squash blossoms, baby zucchini, and green tomatoes! July 23-2014.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer in some manner!

 

The ladybug hatchery is hopping…on the hops

For whatever reason, the hops plant outside the front door, whose vines screen the patio area from direct street view became a designated ladybug-generating factory.  This also means that there was an aphid attack.  The plant has never had insect problems before, but like my apples and some other plants that normally never get visited by aphids, this is the year of infestation, in spite of a very cold winter.

Hops hatchery

The hops ladybug hatchery and nursery.

Normally, the honeysuckle serves as the garden’s aphid residence, and the rest of the plants are spared any infestations.  The stalwart honeysuckle starts to look very shabby by the end of June, its new buds barely able to blossom forth before being smothered by aphid larvae, but it has no problem surviving.  I remain grateful to it for its sacrifice in this way.  Ladybugs hang out on it also, but don’t ever seem to gain the upper hand in controlling the aphids.

Never before have I seen so many immature ladybugs in so many stages of development,on a single plant, and I have no idea where the adults came from.  Perhaps some neighbor released a packet of several hundred, and, typical of these creatures, they left their original release area in search of food elsewhere.  It’s a blessing to have so many of these beauties around, contributing their assistance to the bounty!  And they always bring smiles to people’s faces.

Various stages of ladybug beetle larvae.  The dark "spots" are eggs that eventually "hatch" into the larvae, of which there are several sizes here.  Once they molt 3 times as larvae, then they become pupae (like the one closest to center), before they transform into the adults we are more familiar with.

Various stages of ladybug larvae. Eggs are typically a yellow-orange color, that eventually “hatch” into the larvae, of which there are several sizes here. Once they molt 3 times as larvae, then they become pupae (like the one closest to center), before they transform into the adults we are more familiar with.

A beautiful picture of two non-adult ladybugs.  The one on the right is almost an adult, but still has no wing differentiation; it is the pupal stage, occuring just after the larva on the left molts 3 times.  The youngster larvae are voracious eaters. Adults also eat plant pests such as aphids, but are designed more for their beauty, ability to fly off elsewhere, meet other adults, lay more eggs, and ensure the survival of the species...;-)

A beautiful picture of two non-adult ladybugs. The one on the right is almost an adult, but still has no wing differentiation; it is the pupal stage, occurring just after the larva on the left molts 3 times. The youngster larvae are voracious eaters. Adults also eat many aphids, but function more as re-locators, flying off elsewhere, meeting other adults, laying more eggs, and ensuring the survival of the species, all in the general time frame of 1 month…;-)

 

No deer here!

This is what we like…”invisible” fencing that deer really don’t like because it is so hard for them to see.

The "super-guys" modestly not showing off their muscles after post-digging.   Nice netting...can hardly see it!

The “super-guys” modestly not showing off their muscles after post-digging. Nice netting…can hardly see it!

Finally protected, just in time to remove all covers and jackets on the CG inhabitants.  With gratitude to the generosity of best friends with muscle power, the fencing got put up in a couple of hours, and looks great.  It is so much easier being able to walk inside freely instead of pulling back netting.

Yep, still level-headed after pounding posts!

Yep, still level-headed after pounding posts!

But these 4-leggeds are persistent in browsing, and decided if they can’t have lettuce or beans, then they’ll nibble some dogwood tips a few feet away.  They still manage to wind their way in from the neighbor’s garden when our barriers are not perfectly intact, and continue to harass my roses. and apples in the house yard.  Perhaps I will still see some small rosebuds this fall.

BrowsedRoses

Still no roses this year. The browsers escape into the garden through neighbor’s hedge on occasion.

Young lavender are playing sentinels for the recent melon sprouts in the pots.

Lavender seedling sentinels for the sprouting melons.  Keep those deer browsers out!

Lavender seedling sentinels for the sprouting melons. Keep those deer browsers out!

Sliding through the June portal

Having rain on and around summer solstice is often a guarantee of a hot summer here, and this time summer is not waiting until July 6th to show up!  Heat wave came on immediately after the rains let up; the yard actually feels a bit jungle-ish, with everything so lush. Humid! I would say that the little basil are the only complainers.  They can’t figure out what is coming or going, as their elusive heat kept shifting around.  Transplant time for them coming up!

Magical mesclun mix!

Magical mesclun mix!

Giant radishes!

Seriously large radishes not to be mistaken for beets!

While being gone several days to Mt. Shasta over the Solstice, where it was really dry and dusty, the squash and tomatoes decided the warm moisture was their cue to grow by leaps/bounds.  Melons are still a bit slower, but firmly established now.  Lettuce, spinach, and most of the mesclun mix is bolting, so there is an element of normalcy. We have a lot of work to do this weekend and a bounty to give away!  I spy some hefty looking beet-roots on the end of a row, also, so some first pickings and sorting needed there, too.  Bush bean blossoms announce their next phase, while Bambie has expanded her buffet to include tomato plants early in the season. We won’t even discuss what the weeds think about it all!

And we all shine on!

The jungle is forming!

The jungle is forming!

Erego…we grow…

A wonderful year of production, and of course, a bumper crop of tomatoes, because we did not track the bounty!  So much gratitude goes forth to everyone involved, including all plant devas and Elemental beings who tended everything so perfectly, while we got so busy with life’s various activities and demands.

It is the usual wind-down time of rest for all.  Some lettuce, kale, and chard are braving the battering of November winds and rain.

A glimpse of some bounty as it occurred along the way.  Enjoy!

Luscious Green Beans

Luscious Green Beans

Bodacious beets!

Bodacious beets!

Jul 30-12-3

Harvesters in action!

Jul 30-12-4

Gaston is a wizard at sowing very even stands of radishes!

The intriguing purple tomato cultivar ‘Indigo Rose’

Full glory garden! Where’s Juni…where’s Aspen?

Didn't forget the corn!

Didn’t forget the corn!

The first summer bounty!

Garden mascot and art sculpture…a zucchini seal.

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Ultra-prolific ‘Early Girl’ tomato; no greenies to be had on this vine!

Wind-down and clean up as flaming fall glory sets in..

Wind-down and clean up as flaming fall glory sets in..

Prime time in the house yard!

Prime time in the house yard!

May-June-July!….say what?!

Everything lookin’ good and bountiful!  Crazy weather carried through June, and summer officially arrived on July 4th.  Just in time to change my mind about moving somewhere sunnier…

By concensus we have also chosen not to weigh our harvests, for the foreseeable future; one too many things to do.  It was really interesting to do while in the first years of growing.  Of course, this means we will have an even bigger bounty this season!

July 4: Summer has arrived! Jackets officially off the tomatoes and only a couple of melons needing hothouse treatment…

A first in the CG…radishes! A prize-sized first radish picked by Gaston.

Now the jungle is beginning to form…

July 18: time for lettuce to be out for awhile, while the squash jungle starts to grow.

Vegetable fairies have been having a great time with the tomato and squash!