Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Observations and Planning

Experiencing another heat wave in Philadelphia as the city prepares for the Democratic National Convention. As the end of summer approaches, I know fall doesn't arrive till September; I'm ready for it. My plans for this season were to take it easy and not stress about the garden and how it looked. Of course when things start looking bad, I started tending to them more than planned. I regret purchasing more plants than planned many not successful. It's been a strange summer. Other gardeners that I talk with also complained that the plants in their gardens equally didn't seem to do as well as in other seasons. 
Will I get to eat the blackberries. A couple look ready but they're not as  dark as they appear in the photo. Leaves are being eaten by something, stems coated in mildew, and leaves covered in flakes of wood from carpenter bees digging into the wood of my neighbor's kitchen. I'll eat those 2 tomorrow if birds or a squirrel doesn't get it first.
I didn't know caterpillars would crawl in search of food. Assuming birds didn't eat them. Oh well, maybe next time they'll be more parsley and I'll get to see them stay and transition.
Seeds from maple Norway Maple have started to fall. It signals the approach of Autumn for me, yeah. The heat has been brutal this season.
Not ripe yet. Still waiting patiently for my cherry tomatoes to ripen.
The cucumbers didn't get diseased yet this summer. They're have been lots of blooms and attached cucumbers but only one small one so far.
Miniature pumpkins remain healthy.
I've been thinking of what I learned from gardening this season. Not trying to force plants to grow in places that may not meet their requirements again is my biggest lesson. Every season I try to force plants to grow where they won't be happy and some live and don't thrive but most die. Purchasing plants at the largest size that my budget allows works better for me. Nothing against 4 inch pots as initially they take up less planting space and if they survive catch up to those purchased larger.

I found many plants on my wish list at the local nursery, a little more money, but large healthy plants and lots of varieties. The problem with larger plants and more money is that you can start the same plant from seed with some patience. Cosmos, bee balm, and other plants I envied at the nursery were beautiful but I wouldn't buy a 2 quart pot when I can grow that from seed. I did buy bee balm because it's perennial but not cosmos although it was beautiful, but I'll have to try them from seed. Brunnera, bergenia and other shade perennials were beautiful plants in person. I love bergenia but it's a big plant, larger than I expected. I won't purchase it and some others because they require moist shade and I don't have moist shade in my yard. 

Mulching did help retain moisture in the yard and I've watered little this season. Growing more plants from seeds is my plan for next season. This may be a more economical way to build the flower beds and not lose money when purchased plants die. Accept that the yard is dappled shade and that many plants won't grow in the yard. Embrace those that do and plant more shade perennials. Black eyed Susan and echinacea does tolerate some shade and I'll still trying to force them to grow in the yard. I'll try again in the spring. 

Avoid calibrachoas and petunias. Although beautiful, I find them high maintenance out front and they enter periods of no bloom while waiting for new blooms. They are beautiful but can become leggy and unkept. Vincas perform better for me. Although I grow them from seed successfully they would take up too much space to grow enough so I'll buy them again. Continue to start seeds of coleus, and geraniums, and decide what perennials I'd like to try. Vegetable seedlings will be started later especially tomatoes. I love Swiss chard but my seedlings outback are still small and I don't know what happened with them. Plant more types of lettuce for the yard and radishes. Don't think I'll be putting vegetables on the porch although they did okay nothing replace growing outdoors, sunlight, and rain water. Finally, plant bulbs earlier. I say this every year. Haven't finished ordering yet. Have you started?

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