August in the Garden

Summer is really slipping away now and I’m not quite ready for it. I know that in a few weeks I’ll be happy for things to slow down in the garden and I’ll want to eat apples and winter squash and I might be ready to start wearing socks again. But for now I want to keep eating watermelon and I want it to still be light out at 8 o’clock at night and I want to go for at least a few more swims. But fall is creeping up and I’m thinking about cold frames again. This weekend I put up my first batch of tomatoes for winter and planted fall greens where the beans used to be.

Now that the sunflowers are setting seed, I’ve been enjoying the company of goldfinches. I continue to be surprised by their almost neon yellow color every time I see one. They are even brighter than the sunflowers.

These little downy woodpeckers have been visiting too. They like to perch on the sunflowers and bean poles.

These days I’m assessing this year’s garden and making a mental list for next year. More garlic, more drying beans, more chile peppers. I have lots of onions, but they’re all tiny. Next year I’ll start them earlier, so they’re a decent size by the time I plant them out.

The pumpkins and melons got off to a rough start due to an early attack of cucumber beetles. Most of the plants managed to survive, but then with all the heat in July they didn’t want to set fruit. For a while it was looking like I was going to end up with a grand total of one watermelon and two pumpkins. Now that temperatures have cooled off a bit, a few new little melons and pumpkins have appeared. My pumpkin patch still isn’t going to win any awards for yield per square foot, but at least I’ll have something to show for it.

The tomatoes finally started to ripen in the last few days of July. The blazing sun of early July followed by torrential downpours in the past couple weeks left a lot of them green-shouldered and cracked and really rather ugly, but we’re not complaining.

They pretty much stopped setting fruit during the hottest weeks of July, so there’s been a little bit of a lull in the tomato crop since the first few ripened. There are plenty of new green tomatoes now though, so we should have quite a bumper crop ripening up in a few weeks.

Just the other day I was noticing how nice the chard was looking.

The very next day I arrived at the garden to find that it had been eaten right down to the ground. Yesterday morning I chased a tiny little rabbit out of the squash patch, so he or she is my prime suspect. On the other hand, it was an awful lot of chard for one little bunny to eat, so a deer seems more likely. We did run into a doe and her two babies in the woods that border the garden last week.

I have a new favorite flower this year, the Red Torch Mexican sunflower. I wasn’t very attentive to my flower beds this year and most of the flowers I planted were swallowed up by weeds. But these ones are doing great. They are just beginning to really bloom and the color is absolutely stunning. The plants are nice looking too, and they have the most amazingly soft velvety leaves.

The chile peppers are all doing well, but I regret not planting more of them. Next year there will be twice as many.

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12 thoughts on “August in the Garden

  1. Those birds are gorgeous! As is the Mexican sunflower. Summer comes late to us in California — the heat arrives in September and early October so I have some swims to look forward to. The light fades though.

    • Aren’t they pretty?! The goldfinches are always so startling to me. They look to me like they belong somewhere tropical, not in Massachusetts!

  2. Your garden looks beautiful! We are just beginning our hottest part of the year, now through September. While you think about fall, I am wondering if I can squeeze in another round of green beans (from seed) before the cooler temps kick in. Sounds like you still have a lot to look forward to. I love the picture of the finch on the sunflower!

  3. Looks great, Kate, given the “different” summer weather we’ve had up here this year…My pumpkin vines are enormous, but haven’t set a single squash. The green beans are coming on heavy, and so are the tomatoes, and we’ve got 6 little cantaloupes rapidly gaining size.
    Wish I had someone to help with all these cucumbers – no one I know around here cans but me!

  4. I was just reminiscing about summer coming to an end soon. Yes, there is still warm weather but the gardens let us know that fall is fast approaching.

  5. That little woodpecker is so cute! Your post gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling because I love Autumn and get so excited at the inevitable change of seasons. Your mention of a cold frame has made me smile :-) Your chard looked lovely – sorry that something else thought so too! Lovely post x

    • Thank you. I do love autumn too, but we have such long, cold winters here that I always want to hang on to summer for just a little bit longer! But there is a lot to look forward to with the change of the seasons.

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