August: The Countdown Begins
August is prime gardening season in my neck of the woods. June – and July especially – are growth months, the veggies getting situated and racing to take full advantage of the heat and sun.
Of course we haven’t had much heat or sun so far this year, although I am pleased to say that July saw a bit of an upturn in our unusually rainy and cloudy weather. We still had rain – over double our normal averages for July – but we also had more sun and heat. While normally I would have been starting to harvest beans, cucumbers, and the earliest of tomatoes by mid to late July, all I’ve harvested so far is young tatume and a few green beans as of writing this update.
Since my last update I still haven’t had to water the garden, even after some 26-30C days, so that should give you an idea of how wet everything has been.
But, a quick check in the garden today showed the very earliest tomato (‘Russian Saskatchewan’) is just starting to blush. By my estimation, and going over the past 5 years worth of garden notes, I can estimate we’re about 3 weeks behind where we normally would be in terms of growth and harvest.
I will say Tomato ‘Blondkopfchen’ has proved to be a real winner for this wetter weather, growing leaps and bounds beyond my other tomatoes (although no ripening action yet).
In good news though, I have seen a distinct uptick of bee populations this year that I haven’t noticed in previous years, including some species I haven’t seen at all before (most notably the Bombus bifarius). I did make an effort this year to plant many more annuals and perennials to attract different populations, and it seems to be working.
I titled this post The Countdown Begins, because while August is prime gardening time, it also kinda feels like the beginning of the end. We have a short season here, and if I’m lucky, it’ll last through to the middle of September before we get a killing frost and I have to say goodbye to my outdoor garden for another year. I have probably 5-6 weeks left, and with harvests late as they are already, I’m trying not to panic.
I can do a few things to extend the season by a week or two – in the past I’ve rigged up very large, elaborate plastic sheet contraptions that I put on overnight. I’m probably looking at doing that this year. We seem to have a similar cycle every year – killing frost in mid-September, then about 10 days of no frosts after that before the overnight frost becomes a permanent fixture until April/May next year. Which is frustrating, because I could really use that extra week and a half.