It's well into summer heat here with morning lows in the mid 70's and daily highs in the low to mid 90's. That's normal climate for us but it still seems pretty mild this year compared to last year at this time when much of the country was stuck under a persistent high and regularly hitting the 100's. (Of course this mass oppression was happening just as I started off on another trip.) This means the cool weather crops are done and none highlighted this more so than the spinach and two different leaf lettuces.
In general I think my 'crops' got a late start, even those started inside under the grow lamp, because of a very cool spring which had us seeing night time temps well below 50 weeks after last frost. At least that's what I'm blaming for the mediocre results from several of the plants. I think maybe my results would have been a little better is I had reversed the day cycle on the grow light and kept it on overnight, turning it off for a few hours of rest during the day. This would probably have kept the plants warmer during the nights which were dropping into the 40's and even high 30's once in a while.
As it was, the spinach never had a chance to mature to the point of good firm leaves before the heat caused it to bolt. I got several harvests of spinachy tasting though floppy leaves but was never able to get beyond the floppy stage before they bolted and I cut them off at the knees as lost causes.
The Bronze Mignonette lettuce also stayed very floppy with some harvests of very thin, almost tasteless leaves. It never bolted in the heat but more-or-less just faded away. I have seeds left but I don't think I'm going to try this variety next season. There's so many others out there to try.
The Buttercrunch lettuce also never really firmed up and it bolted big time once the heat set in. Though it was susceptible to insect pests it grew well enough and I harvested a fair amount of it. This one might make it into the next season's lineup but probably under row-cover to cut back on the number of insects harvesting it before I can get there. The stems were about 3/4 of an inch in diameter at the base when I cut them off and one has stubornly decided to send up a new plant. Since I don't have anything else going in this slot I'm going to just leave it alone and see what happens.
The Chard, being one of those heat lovers, is doing well though the leaves have grown past the 'eating raw' stage and must now undergo a little cooking to knock down the bitterness. This variety is Bright Lights which is supposed to have bright red stems and veins but we have only seen a hint of that so far.
I did throw the rest of the sprouting potatoes, a batch of organics we bought that had been out of the ground just a little too long, out into the compost pile and there are now a half dozen, completely neglected but still decent looking plants growing out there as well.
Next summer, assuming I don't end up with plans that will take me away for much of it, unlike this summer, we are going to try sweet potatoes, of which we eat a lot. They are a tropical plant and like the heat so should help fill in the summer garden.
Just because I had empty space where the lettuces and spinach was, I threw down a few bean and squash seeds. Both seem to be doing pretty well but only time will tell if they produce anything.
So far the zucchini has been a bust. It has been producing fruits but they just end up rotting away before they grow as you can see. (The large one is only about an inch in diameter.) As some rot others start growing farther down the stem so I'm just leaving it alone to see if there is any change in attitude here.
The tomatoes have been a mixed bag.
The Flordade, which has supposedly been bred for a climate like ours, has produced one stunted plant that has set a single fruit which is still very green. This is a red variety so it will get left on the vine to see what happens.
The Beefsteak is almost as tall as the greenhouse will let it grow and has had lots of blossoms, but has yet to set a single fruit. I think this one is a bust.
The yellow pear is doing pretty well. So far the fruits, about the size of a ping-pong ball, have had a very mild tomatoey taste so I'm letting the rest go until they fall off into my hand to see if the taste gets stronger. If it doesn't, good grower or not, it probably won't make next year's garden.
So there you have the latest from the garden. Mixed results but, if nothing else, we have been providing habitat and both web building and hunting spiders are among those taking advantage.