The weather has proved unusual, and here is the impact for my garden; plus some jots about other notable conditions and effects.
It has been far wetter than usual, and then there is the inverted effect of our temperatures… June was as miserable as any July-August might have been. The heat and humidity was horrible at the beginning of summer, but what happened in July? Perfect June weather happened. The month of July was perfect for me: cooler temperatures, regular rainfall, prevailing blue skies. It was just lovely.
The Weather This Summer
Now, how did that weather pattern effect my garden? I could not, would not, work in those terrible temperatures of June. Weeds went wild whilst I secluded myself in an air conditioned sanctuary. However, I did manage to plant some containers and a small raised bed with many herbs, a tomato plant and some pepper plants.
Since the weather turned rainy, cooler, and more often cloudy than not, the tomatoes have not yet produced. There are a few green ones coming on… but the Swiss Chard got big and beautiful. Cucumbers have done well, but peppers (who like the same conditions as tomatoes) have done diddly-squat.
I, however, cannot complain since the weather has been good for catching up on weeding. When not working in that capacity, I simply enjoy the lovely days stretched out on my zero-gravity chair.
Getting older means not feeling guilty about such pleasures.
Now, Let’s Talk About The Japanese Beetles
They were back in their hordes this year. It meant the death-knell for my Contorted Hazels. Every year the beetles had been eating the leaves and weakening the trees, but this year there just wasn’t the strength left to the trees to rejuvenate. My dear Harry Lauder Walking Stick trees are gone and I blame the effect of the beetles.
The cherry trees were defoliated before I realized, not that there would have been anything done about it. The leaves looked a strange apricot color from a distance. That was because they were becoming skeletonized. The farmers had crop dusters out in force this year, and I suppose it was to spray pesticides for the beetles and their ilk.
A nearby orchard draped all their trees in white netting. That was a first for this area.
Here, we went ahead an put out some of the traps and (emptied loads). The trouble with traps is that they work by attracting the pests, but we had to do something. Grapevines and some of the roses were also eaten into apricot-colored oblivion.
When invaded by such numbers there is no defense from trying to pluck off the little beasts from your plantings.
After emptying out piles of beetles from the traps, I wondered whether such things could be turned into feed for chickens on those huge egg farms or something?
Butterflies And Beauty
At the beginning of this summer I was pleased to see lots of butterflies and the spotting of a lone praying mantis, but after the crop spraying, the numbers dwindled noticeably. Except for some of the cabbage butterflies; their presence survives despite all onslaughts, apparently.
There were many more Monarchs in June, and perhaps they have laid some eggs on the milkweeds. I haven’t had the idea to check for them. All my time outside is spent weeding, or harvesting basil for salads and pasta.
I also have the most adorable hummingbird. I noticed the presence of hummingbirds fairly early, so went off to buy some red flowers to pop into the container plantings. The red fuchsia and scarlet sage (Salvia splendens) provide morning stops. As in past years I notice that the lilac bush is a favorite rest stop. Butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy resting on this bush for some reason.
The Rural View
Earlier summer had flooded the fields. The crop plants are mostly recovered and while some corn remains stunted, most fields around here have 8 ft. cornstalks. All looks lush, from soybean to cornstalk to tree. As I mentioned previously, there has been much farm field spraying. While the latest was probably for insects, the other spraying was likely for diseases and fungus.
The hayfields look like they yielded exceptionally well.
I imagine other neighbors are also having a slow harvest of tomatoes- I don’t see any signs for roadside sales of the fruits.
Today was misty and cloudy with comfortable upper 70 temperatures. I hope it stays comfortable during the coming month, and I might get my chores, well not done exactly, but progressing forward.
How has your summer gone? (Because yes, it is almost gone already!)