Succession sowing.

There are plenty of things I could stand to do better, the top of that list for what I want to do better is planning my succession sowing. Each year I have the best of intentions, and each year I forget.

I just came across this super-helpful post from A Way To Garden about doing just that!

I’m linking here for reference for myself as much as for helping any of you that may need a little reminder, inspiration, or information on the topic.

If you’re an expert succession sower, how do you remember to do so? Do you add a calendar reminder to your phone? Write it on your kitchen calendar? Just have that impressive of a memory or that much experience that it has merely become habit? Any tips or tricks you have would be greatly appreciated!

For instance this year, I learned that I should have started more melon and squash plants to put in after the beans were done, and more peppers to add after the squash had called it quits.

Flower beds and herb attempts.

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This bed has had me in a pickle. It gets sun from mid-morning to late afternoon, stays moist in the back corner nearly constantly due to the AC drip, receives the brunt of the roof run off in a down pour, but dries out quickly…and is maybe a total twelve inches deep. I sowed a red clover over the winter to drown out the weeds and enliven the soil. I turned it under just two weeks ago and the soil is so much happier! DH wanted to go in search of some more pepper plants now that the backyard bed is mostly done. I thought we may have some slim pickings, seeing as it’s already into June, but I don’t say no when he’s the one asking to go plant shopping! So off we went to Green and Growing, and while the ” slim pickings” worry turned out to be too optimistic (they were done with veggie transplants all together for the summer) we did pick up some flowers and herbs. In the bed above, I’m trying a Bat-faced Cuphea, two Cinderella purslane, and three little color splash purslanes only named ”scarlet” and ”fuchsia.” Immediately to the right of this square is a small strip that lays below the guest room/office window. DH thought if they were out of edibles he would still get peppers and selected these playful ”chilly chili” ornamental peppers. They have to share space with the not-flowering-in-this-heat violas and zinnias to the right, but hopefully won’t mind.

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The front bed by the street has more space than I wanted to leave as a blank mulch canvas, and I’ve seen these growing wild along the highways so can trust that they’re low maintenance and drought tolerant. Plus, they’re so cheerful looking!

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DH’s mother has been having a blessed Basil year and after we tasted some of her homemade pesto, he has been missing having fresh basil out the backdoor. He picked up the two sweet basil below, and because the overwintered Thai basil isn’t producing enough to eat any, he picked up two of those as well.

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And to dip my toes back in the seed starting waters, I thought to try once again to grow herbs from seed (I’m not very good at it yet.)

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Colors!

I braved the heat today. Even now, at 9:15 with the sun completely gone and the night black – it’s 92 degrees. But I added taller trellis lines to the tomato posts. I watered. I found another melon baby. (That makes three!) And I witnessed my first sunflower’s first bloom.

That 92 degrees has been busy though. Busy baking my harvested bean plants to the ground, busy stressing out my melon vines (sorry, guys! I’ll water you more often I promise…), busy making even the sweet potatoes wilt.

You know who wasn’t wilting in this heat? The tomatoes.

Do you know what they were doing?

The first tomato harvest of the year wasn’t just one or three lonely little Chadwick Cherries like it usually is. I suppose it would have been had I ventured out to check on it days ago.

It’s hard to photograph tomatoes properly, I find. The oranges in the photo aren’t nearly the day-glow orange the tomatoes are in real life. The pinks look less pink and the purples look more purple.

Surely the internet has lessons in how to properly capture such colorful globes of flavor? Time to investigate!

In the background, we have more Anaheim peppers, more Jalapeno peppers, and the first ever (for us) Cayenne peppers! I don’t have the names of the yellow pear shaped ones, the day-glow orange, the small purple, or the small red – those were saved seeds from a colorful pint at the Farmer’s Market last year. Oddly, in the pint last year, they were all much smaller. The larger red cherries are the Chadwicks. The pinkish one taking center stage is an Oxheart or a Zapotec, I’d have to reference either my planting chart or last year’s harvest photos. The bigger guys in the background? Those are the Black Princes.

Sadly, the monster heirloom from saved seed from a Newport, Oregon Farmer’s Market went missing. It didn’t lose half its flesh to birds. It wasn’t infested with crawlies. It wasn’t even on a snapped branch on the ground due to too much weight and too little support. I’m trying my hardest not to think someone walked away with it. Perhaps those in the community gardens with fences have the for a reason after all…

Big dreams…

As the spring wandered off to make way for summer, the garden was still going strong. Now that summer’s tight grip has taken full hold of our air, I find the cabin fever setting in. Last year it took until August for the fever to hit. Today, it hit hard. I knew I needed to go out, and despite the blanket of steaming humidity, the imposing sun, and the absent breeze, I went out.

I stuck to the shade as best I could. Spraying the strawberries with some compost tea. As the shade traveled across the land, I started work in my backyard garden. Clearing out the blossoming arugula (that we never eat, but that keeps coming back). The long-since-bolted, seeds collected, and re-bolted lettuce made their way to the compost bin.

Just like that, I was out of shaded tasks. Having spent the entire day yesterday on the river (coated in SPF 70) I didn’t wish to subject my skin to another day drowning in sunscreen, and dare not go without it. So the tomatoes still need higher trellising on their posts. The peppers still need their caging. The melons still need netting and the last squash have likely lost to the borers and the bugs.

I headed indoors. I pulled out my graph paper pad. I pulled out my pencil and eraser. I set to work drafting my winter garden.

That’s right.

In a week or three, I’ll sow my brassica family veggies, my kales and my chards, and other winter garden varieties into seed trays indoors. Last year I direct sowed seeds October 1st and found my beds lagging behind those of the Farmer’s Market Farmers. This year, I’ll do my sowing in the comfortable 75 degree housing we occupy and let those cooler weather crops get a head start before dropping them out into the 90s it will have cooled down to by October 1st (I hope.)

And with that, I sigh. Sure. I have a long growing season – October through June – which is the inverse of most vegetable gardens I know about who have their three month “can’t grow” season during the winter months. It doesn’t change the fact that I miss the summers that mean playing outside all day. In my sighing. I start to dream. DH may be done with school as soon as two calendar years from now. It feels so far away sometimes, but I’m learning all too well how quickly time moves as you age. What used to take forever to pass (summer vacation as a child, anyone?) is now gone with the exhale of the wildflowers. Over. Spent.

A dream of ours, when he finishes school, is to see about moving. Last summer, we fell in love with Boulder. Sometimes, when I get frustrated with various frustrations, I take a peek at Boulder. It has yet to fail to make me yearn.

Case in point? 20 acres are for sale. That we could afford. That looks as picturesque as I only dreamed we would find.

 

Sometimes, the beauty of the world just makes my heart ache.

There are so many decisions to make in one’s life. So very many.

Volunteer Acorn.

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The past two springs here have given my backyard garden a blanket of volunteer squash. This year it wasn’t the mystery bowling ball variety, but instead every volunteer came up acorn. And then, too busy once again to keep vigil for Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borers, one morning I glanced outside to see the blanket of squash leaves and pops of orange blossoms were gone. Deflated. Too late to save by attempting heroic efforts involving knives and twine or hand-picking and sprays. They were done for. I picked these this morning. Not from a bed of lush squash green, but from dried up and crispy beige. I left them on the dying vines as long as I could, hoping they’d find the energy necessary to ripen. Having never grown Acorn squash before, I have no idea how long they take to mature. I’d always assumed they would take months, like other winter squash, and thus avoided them as an on-purpose-plant. Fingers crossed these squeaked in under the wire!