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Late summer finally arrives

 
Transplanted tomato
 

This year has been brutal on my fledgling gardening skills. It’s August and We’ve harvested a few peas, some broccoli and a little chard. All of those beautiful starts went into a downhill slide just as soon as I was able to put them outside – in mid July! It was just too cold to put anything but the broccoli and spinach out and expect them to live until July 6. It isn’t unusual for us to get lots of rain until the 5th of July,1 but the 40 degree overnights and highs in the 50′s were brutal and unexpected.

This took a serious toll, as due to all of the other work that was going on we didn’t get the cold frame built, and I don’t have a single cloche. So the pepper starts that arrive in mid-May sat in their tiny pots along with the small pots of tomato starts. When I was finally able to pull them out and drop them in the ground, out of sheer desperation, it was still cold but we were headed out of town and needed to get them in the ground so the house sitter could water.

 
Volunteer tomatos
 

That’s right, we went straight from 50′s to 80′s. The spinach plants bolted before I could harvest a single leaf.2 The funny part about this is that somehow I ended up with a patch of volunteer tomato plants. These volunteers are doing much better than the transplants – they’re bushier and and stronger. They even flowered earlier than their indoor relatives. But the best part is that they’re doing all of this without being watered by the sprinkler systems. It’s making me think that I should just direct sow everything next year. Provided I get some cloches built in the meantime.3

  1. It’s a running joke in the Seattle area that summer starts on the 5th, right after the rain soaks the fireworks []
  2. I guess that’s better than last year though, I’m still not convinced that plant wasn’t a nightshade. []
  3. Images: 1) transplanted tomato, 2) the volunteer patch []

Originally published at my blog. You can comment here or there.