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PNW: 2015 August

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PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/1/2015, 6:36 pm

Hope you all are surviving the heat, if you've got it the way we have. We're looking at a few days cooling trend at least, so that's something! I'm getting just a little bit more tomato set here and there.

August 2015 according to gardenate.com for zone 7a:

"Plant in garden": arugula, climbing/pole/runner beans; beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumber, kale, leeks, mustard greens, pak choy, potatoes, rutabaga, squash, turnips

"start undercover in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks": chives, lettuce

For zone 7b:

"Plant in garden": arugula, climbing/pole/runner beans; beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumber, kale, leeks, mustard greens, pak choy, potatoes, rutabaga, squash, turnips

"start undercover in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks": chives, lettuce

Same thing as 7a, it turns out.

So it looks like this is the month to start your fall planting if you're in those zones. So it will be decision time for some of us: Is it time yet to uproot the summer crops?

In my case, no. I don't really get much until August anyway! So that and the first part of September are prime time for summer crops, for me.

This zone business can be a starting point for decisions in the garden, but experience is the best teacher. If you have little or none, ask around!

Hope we're all going to have a great, productive August!




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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/2/2015, 7:43 pm

Wow, we're starting off much cooler. I love it! Only 81 today. That's a 20 degree drop, or more, from last week.

I can't help it -- I bought more seeds. I'm a seed-buying fool!

Got a package of mixed marigold seeds (Brocade Mix) from Territorial Seeds, some Pinwheel marigolds from Siskiyou Seeds, a local company, and Mother Garden Mix Sunflowers and Orach(Purple Mountain Spinach) from Siskiyou as well, plus some Blue Victoria Salvia and Teddy Bear sunflowers, which are short ones, from Botanical Interests.

I've been developing an interest in keeping the bees well fed over the last few years, so I'll be going a little flower-crazy in unused areas of the back yard next year. I'll also plant a few more flowers in the next day or two on the chance that it may not be too late for them to sprout before hot turns to cool turns to cold weather.

I've seen pictures of the "Pinwheel" marigold or one extremely like it on Territorial's site, but described, I think, as "Bronson." It's got alternating stripes, extending outward from the base of the flower, of very deep maroon and of yellow. A tight cluster of them together is supposed to make them look almost like they are moving.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/4/2015, 8:55 pm

Bees love



this tree



but the limbs got so long and heavy with flowers



that this happened



Half the inside branches at the middle of the tree fell away.  You can see only one of the scars from the four or five limbs I had to cut off.  What a shame!  The tree is still a nice one, but it lost a lot and provides less shade now too.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  yolos on 8/4/2015, 9:19 pm

The flowers make me think that tree is a crape myrtle.  What is it.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/4/2015, 11:56 pm

That's it.  Crepe myrtle.  What is a crepe and what is a myrtle I don't know, but that's a crepe one of a myrtle.

I planted pretty late this year, partly because my tomatoes generally do nothing until August anyway, so why bother planting them early.  Here's some stuff from my back yard.

French tarragon(the real thing, not the russian stuff):



A mix of different bush beans up against the hill:



Some of my marigolds and lobelia:



Beans up against another fence and on the top of the fence:








The scarlet emperor runner beans are really starting to climb.  They're tangling themselves all up with the other beans from top to bottom, so I've been weaving them up through the chain link when I have to, and even back down again when they top the fence, since the wind broke some of them off when they got up there and kept going with no support.  



The heat and sun have been hard on the beans, and so have the wind and pests. I wanted to try bush beans in the fence-top boxes, but it gets too windy up there.  The only thing I've had much success with up there was red giant mustard, last year.  My bush beans couldn't take the wind/heat/sun combo, and are not doing well up top.

Doing well on the bottom, though, despite some bug-skeletonized leaves.  Those white dots on the leaves are from milk spray. It worked nicely for a while, but the beetles are back and I need another application.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/5/2015, 12:46 am

Here's some stuff I'm growing at a neighbor's garden.  He's let me plant my bucket brigade against his fence, and use two of his cinderblock beds.

Mixed bed of banana peppers, bush beans, a brandywine tomato, and a kale plant with dry pods on it.



The other full-sized bed I'm using, with scorched stunted bush beans, banana peppers, and three tomato plants:  brandywine, arkansas traveler, and black krim.  I'm finally getting a few tomatoes to set after a worthless June and July with countless flowers failing to set fruit.





The bush beans that are partially shaded during the later afternoon aren't as scorched, but they aren't exactly taking off either. Unless my bush beans in the first bed finally start producing notable numbers of beans as fall approaches, this second year of growing bush beans in full sun will mark my last attempt.   Last years beans grown back at home in my much shadier back yard did great; our full sun is too hard on our beans, it appears.



Arkansas Traveler tomato finally setting a few fruits, if you can see them in there:



The lone black krim:



etc. etc.

In the bucket brigades, my chocolate cherries(I usually call them black cherries by mistake):



The brandywines in my self-watering container:


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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  sanderson on 8/5/2015, 2:48 am

Marc, Thank you for sharing your trees and flowers and veggie gardens. Your Toms look a lot better than mine. I love Black Crim. I hope yours are as mouth watering as my little Krims. Any tomatillos this year? I forgot. I must try lobelia next year. I'm done with Borage. The bees aren't interested. But, lobelia, one striking purple slower!

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/5/2015, 4:58 am

Summer crops are usually an enormous bummer until at least mid-August.  i just have to sit and wait as months worth of flowers drop off and I get more or less zero fruit.  And in our heat of course leafy greens and other non-fruiting veggies are somewhere between "LOL! Nice try!" and "Please just stop.  You're embarrassing us both. Can't you see no good can come from this?"  

No tomatillos.  That's a mistake.  The chutney I made for the last two years got huge raves, but i couldn't go through the stock of a condiment, the sort of thing that is only occasionally used, quick enough, so I put off growing more tomatillos/green tomatoes for chutney.  Probably I should have grown more, since it both freezes and stays fine in the fridge almost forever.

I've been bummed out about borage for a couple years now, but continue to like lobelia.  The many tiny flowers attract lots of bees, and how bad could that be?  Plus the usual blues and purples of lobelias set off the oranges/reds/yellows of the marigolds I grow very well.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/5/2015, 12:34 pm

LOL!
Your crops look great, Marc, considering the heat they have to put up with. How often do you have to water? I'll bet you'll get this all figured out by year 3 and beat that heat down!

I'm not enamored with the borage either. No bees on that and my nasturtiums. Gaura is still the drought-tolerant bee-magnet winner in my garden.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  sanderson on 8/5/2015, 3:43 pm

Gaura.  Drought tolerant.  Hmmm  Very Happy

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/5/2015, 5:00 pm

Just looked up gaura. Very pretty flower.

CC, I generally water every two days in the raised beds and once every day or two in the buckets and other containers. Sometimes, though, I even have to water twice a day if I want delicate plants to survive.

My take-away from my experience gardening here is that few plants can produce in this heat and many plants do very poorly in it or even get permanently stunted or killed by it. My summer crops are actually producing almost everything in the fall, where I garden in full sun. To get real summer production, partial shade is a must.

So on a practical basis, I think that means for me that I'll plant more spring crops from now on and leave them in much longer. More peas and leafy greens and fewer nightshade crops. I'll always grow tomatoes, but there's no hurry to get them into the garden since they don't do anything for the first couple of months there anyway.

Unfortunately this means that much of my growing season isn't really a growing season at all. It's a waiting until things can start growing season. And that means that I can get fewer flushes of things like bush tomatoes and bush beans, as they can use up some of their production cycles trying to produce flowers that drop off, or putting out a very scant amount of fruit and then shutting down. Unless I've got some shade going, it's probably better for me to grow more vining crops and fewer bush crops.

At some point maybe I'll get some elaborate shade cloths up, and things will be different.


Last edited by Marc Iverson on 8/6/2015, 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  sanderson on 8/6/2015, 4:53 am

Marc, Here I am in the 3rd summer and I still don't have my shades worked out. I like working with the new HD 75% shade cloth, it's fairly light weight. The only reason not to wait too late to the plant the tomatoes is to give them time to develop a good root system.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/6/2015, 2:16 pm

Yeah I've wondered about that too. I will have to keep experimenting on planting dates.

Weather forecast is for mid to low 80's for the next week, but then a quick rise to 92 and then 96 ... and then who knows what. We can hit 100 in September, but a cooling trend definitely establishes itself in late August. I'm finally getting some beans and tomatoes to set, so I can hardly wait! Both I and the garden like it cooler.

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Waiting for beans to dry

Post  gwennifer on 8/14/2015, 4:24 pm

So my tabletop beds obviously just make a hobby garden for me, and I like to play around trying different things.  This year I'm learning about growing dry beans.  I planted black beans, since I use them a lot in cooking so why not.  Wow, it takes a long time for these suckers to dry!  If I were eating these as green beans I could have been harvesting pods for a month now.  The plants have gotten all ratty and I just have to keep watering and waiting for the seeds to mature.  If I were picking the young pods, supposedly the plants would produce more pods too, so I also have a reduced yield per square foot growing dry beans instead of green beans.  *shrug*  

Still it will be fun to see how many black beans I get from just four squares (I think I've got 34 or 35 plants altogether - 9 per square but one or two didn't make it).  Doesn't look like too many pods though.  Maybe I'll get 1/2 cup of beans?  Maybe we should start a wager.  lol.  (BTW, I'm starting to question the saying "Doesn't amount to a hill of beans".)

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/14/2015, 7:01 pm

Gwennifer,

I've also been thinking about planting black beans one of these years.
I didn't know that you have to keep watering them when you're letting them dry out, but I did suspect that it would take many square feet of plantings to provide sufficient beans to last the winter.

Think I'll buy them, either canned or dried!

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  gwennifer on 8/14/2015, 8:38 pm

donnainzone10 wrote:
...I didn't know that you have to keep watering them when you're letting them dry out...
You probably don't have to....  I don't know what I'm doing!  The plants are still alive though and occasionally getting some new flowers, and I'm hoping the pods will fill out more.  Some videos I watched on harvesting dry beans show them picking the dry pods off the plants and other show them cutting the whole plant down.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/14/2015, 9:00 pm

donna, I feel pretty much the same way about dried beans. They are so cheap they're a commodity, and find it hard to justify filling a square with something that can be bought for almost nothing anyway.

I'm growing scarlet runner beans and am not sure when I want to pick them either. They have some big pods on them, and are toxic unless cooked, so it's not a question of whether to eat a nice juicy raw veggie. But I suppose I should, to keep them producing.

I must say I hope that for something often grown just for its flowers, those flowers don't last too long and there aren't a lot of them. Plenty of leaves and a decent amount of beans so far even in our hot weather, though, so that's a good thing. It's fun growing such a robust plant as a lark, but since all they produce is a bean you have to cook anyway, I'd better find out I love the taste or I may not be planting many of them in the future.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  sanderson on 8/15/2015, 2:51 am

I'm now in Vancouver, WA (just north of Portland, OR).  I hope you all enjoyed the rain I must have brought with me.  Wink   The flight attendant said it was the first rain since June.  The Columbia River is beautiful.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  donnainzone5 on 8/15/2015, 12:27 pm

Sanderson,

I agree that the Columbia River Gorge is spectacular!

Bend is only a 45-minute flight from PDX. Or a 3.5-hour drive from Portland itself, fires permitting.   I'd love it if you could visit!

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  sanderson on 8/15/2015, 1:21 pm

This is my husband's family event so I can't go off visiting. I wish I could visit PNW folks. Very Happy

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  gwennifer on 8/15/2015, 5:45 pm

@sanderson wrote:This is my husband's family event so I can't go off visiting.  I wish I could visit PNW folks. Very Happy

Maybe us Vancouver, WA peeps should come crash his family's event!  Oh, and thank you for the rain it was much appreciated.

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piggie food

Post  gwennifer on 8/15/2015, 5:53 pm

Funny story - remember that 104 degree day we had a bit ago?  Well when I went out in the evening to water, I found several of my bell peppers on the plants that got the most sun had gotten these big mushy spots on them.  So I picked them and cut out the spots and then texted my neighbor to explain I'd had to harvest several at once and it was more than I could use before they went bad (since I'd already had to cut them), so would she like some?  She responded with an enthusiastic "YES!".  So we met out front and I handed over my best, big, beautiful, organically grown bell peppers.  And she said "Thanks, the guinea pigs are going to love them!"  

Wait, what?   Shocked

I think she could see by the look on my face that I wanted to snatch that bag right out of her hands.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  CapeCoddess on 8/15/2015, 6:17 pm

OMG, Gwen!  That woulda made me cuckoo .

To the freezer with the next batch!!!!
reality check
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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/15/2015, 7:13 pm

Haha, Gwen, that woulda made me grind my teeth loud enough to shatter glass!

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

Post  Marc Iverson on 8/15/2015, 8:00 pm

My banana peppers never get very tall, but they're producing nicely.





My tomato plants are all kinda smallish this year.  I've only got three that are doing anything but dropping all or most all of their blossoms, and all but one of them is pretty spindly.  I think planting them late meant they didn't have a chance to get as much green growth and thicken up their stems before the most intense heat of summer came on, shutting most growth down.  Blossom drop would have been the same either way, but I'd prefer thicker stems on these guys.

My Arkansas Traveler continues to be the most robust plant, though it's hardly huge.  Still, it's got more than a handful of tomatoes on it anyway.  



My bucket brandywine:




This guy looks nice.  Look at all the dropped flower stems surrounding him.  Very few flowers made it to fruit this year so far!



The short but fuller-leafed brandywine plant in a raised bed:



Cow peas growing out back -- never grown 'em before.  They seem to come in two's, and almost always have black ants that I see nowhere else surrounding the base of their stems.  I don't know if they're trying to suck juice out or what.  But they're always there.  I see no aphids or damage.



Look at the size of this bean leaf!



Today's pickings:



The beans out back suddenly started producing.  I still have lots on the vines, and the dragon tongues seem to have gone from midgets to huge very quickly.  I really like their taste and texture, and their color makes them much easier to find and pick than regular green beans.  But there were some monster DT beans that still managed to hide very well in the shadows amid all the leaves.  I'm so glad I'm finally getting something to harvest, and that beans weren't just a one-time luck affair that I had last year. I'm going to do well with them, but as with everything else in this heat, we're just starting way late.

The royal burgundies growing out back started out nicely, but this flush is very small, and the leaves look bad too.  I'm surprised, because usually the plants are so robust and produce so well.  Maybe temps at 107 or higher just did a number on them even though they are partially in the shade.

I planted my scarlet runner beans too close to my other beans this year, and all the beans tangled themselves together. Since the scarlet runner beans are toxic raw, I'll just have to cook every green colored bean that I pick.  Never cooked them before.

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Re: PNW: 2015 August

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