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The August Garden



Well, here we are in August, and here is my raised garden as seen from the back. Not quite as much of a jungle as last year, which is both good and bad. The tomatoes are smaller both in plant and fruit and the squashes too. But, things are easier  to pick because they are not so jammed together. Small consolation though for less bounty. My cucumbers, seen in the front of the picture are barely doing anything. I think they don't get enough light with only the afternoon sun. I thought I had a pretty nifty way to squeeze more tomatoes and also cucumbers in to a small space. Oh well, back to the drawing board with that one.

The yellow crookneck squash on the far right is doing a bit better, but not as well as I'd hoped. I thought it would get nice and big since I was giving it so much room (not my normal instinct in the garden), but so far it's kinda puny compared to the first year I grew it. That sucker was huge! Leaves the size of elephant's ears I tell you and not the garden variety - the mammalian. You just never know what your garden will do from one year to the next. I guess that's part of the fun, but also part of the frustration.

I'm certainly grateful for all that we have eaten and picked from the garden, but I can't help being disappointed as well, because I put so much into certain parts of it - namely the tomatoes - and they are just seeming kinda lazy this year. I have 26 plants - yup two six - and so far barely any actual fruits of my labor. Plus now it's August, and August in MN is when you truly can see just how much yield you're gonna get. You can see the end even though the tomato cannot. Consequently, it's also a good time to prune those new suckers and tiny buds that will never make it to tomatohood. I'm not sure if it truly helps with the remaining fruit, but it makes sense it would.


Here's the messy side jungle, and more tomatoes. The plants here are the healthiest, but some are not producing very much anyway. I have one plant over here with only ONE tomato on it. Yeah, I'm kinda pissed at that one. I think it's the Bulls Heart, and I was really looking forward to that one. I guess I'll really have to savor it.

This year, I'm realizing how much I still have to learn about gardening, but especially growing tomatoes. For instance, I don't know why mine always get yellowish leaves, or why sometimes they curl. I've read the curling is caused by aphids - but I don't really see the evidence for it. Some plants have brown spots on the leaf edges, and others the blossoms are turning yellow on the stem and eventually shriveling and falling off. I think I need a good tomato book. Any recommendations?

Well, that's enough complaining for today! Any one else got garden frustrations they'd like to vent? Blast away!

August 12, 2008 in Secret Gardening | Permalink


I've been rather frustrated this growing season, too. I blame myself for not planting the squash and cucumbers sooner, but everything that I did plant on time -- and started sowing back in March -- is smaller this year and slow to ripen. My current hope is that the literal fruits of my labor get big and ripe enough before the frost kills them.

It's a little sad that I'm already looking to next spring for better success. Our summers just aren't long enough. *sniff*

Posted by: Maggie Tacheny at Aug 13, 2008 12:50:35 PM

I know! It's too bad that a late Spring doesn't translate into a late Fall.

Well, maybe we'll dodge the killing frost and then re-warming this Fall. I hate it when that happens.
If it's going to be nice and warm in October - let's just coast right on through to it!

Posted by: Lorika at Aug 14, 2008 12:27:03 PM

Yeah things aren't much better in Duluth. My hot peppers, green peppers, and eggplant are so tiny--i don't think I'll get one fruit from either. Last year I had quite a few of all of them. And my tomato plants are small as well. Some haven't even broken past 18". This past cold stint (it was in the low 40s one night) has cause some of the tomatoes to ripen prematurely. So tiny tomatoes too. Not the bumper crop that was last year. Oh and I used wall-o waters too. What a pain.

The frustrating part of the whole thing is--some other peoples gardens seem huge. I've seen a few tomato plants that are mammoth. Oh well. I think I just don't know enough about gardening. I know it's been cooler than normal though.........

I have a whole garden redesign plan in the works that should give me more space and (hopefully) better yields!
Sux when you start planning your garden in Feb and grow the seeds yourself.

Posted by: v-nick at Aug 14, 2008 4:43:54 PM

I know Nick, I suspect that those with mammoth plants and tomatoes are people who do not grow from seed. I think if we have another cold wet spring like this year, I will buy a couple organic heirloom plants in addition to all my ones from seed. What could it hurt? Plus, then I should have a few early tomatoes too.

I always wondered about those "Wall o Waters" I guess they're not worth it then? I am also irtyng to find a really good organic fertilizer for next year. I too am sick of crappy yields.

I hope you still a bounty of tomatoes and some peppers n stuff too!

Posted by: lorika at Aug 16, 2008 9:47:36 PM

I'm frustrated a bit with this year's garden also. I'm also up in Duluth and started all of my plants from seed. I have tall plants but not a lot of fruit. And I think that I might have some sort of blight as the bottom leaves started turning yellow and spotty and drying up a few weeks ago. Along with this I don't see very healthy vigorous leaves, the plants just look kind of straggly with the fruit on the vine with little or no leaves. I'm also disappointed with squash. The winter squash are not producing a whole lot. I am seeing a lot of Delicata, and hope that they will ripen to make up for the very few butternut, buttercup and hubbard that I see. I'm already writing notes for next year...plant more red cabbage, plant two rows of beets, find a better variety of peas (peas were very disappointing also). Start pepper plants and flowers in March, start tomatoes in bigger containers. I'm also studying how to make better soil. I think some of my issues are soil quality. I will not till the soil next year, and we have two large compost bins going. My soil seems to be very compact and I think that's from tilling every year, I'm learning that this is not a good practice as it kills the worms, disturbs the nutrient, and compacts the soil.

Posted by: Kellyboed at Aug 20, 2008 1:57:46 PM

I am also looking into better soil practices and enrichments for next year. I think that is a great place to start.

My tomato plants seem to get the yellow and spotty drying up older leaves every year too- I am determined to find out why, ans rest assured, I will then blog about it!

Posted by: Lorika at Aug 21, 2008 11:48:21 AM

Man, this is like reading about my own garden, as far as the tomatoes are growing! I have so many green ones, but I can see the end will ensure many of mine will never ripen :( What a weird year.

Posted by: Tom at Aug 31, 2008 1:09:33 PM

.....at least I'm not the only one! Sorry, just found the blog.....I got sepetoria (sp) leaf spot on my tomatos this year, which just stunk! Plus my lab has decided that ALL tomatos are good to eat. Beans did well, cucs/pickles/squash SUCKED. I had ONE (1) zucchini, and tell me, who can't grow them??? Eggplant and spinach did great, peppers late and just ok. Already planning next year I have (7) 4 x 8 raised beds and I do rotate. Tried all Italian/Irish stuff this year...thinking maybe I should go "back to basics" good book to check out: Tomatoes love Carrots....I don't use chems and companion planting helps......happy harvest (what's left of it!) LOL

Posted by: Kara at Oct 2, 2008 12:50:50 PM

Great post and blog! I really enjoyed this post, thanks for that. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts, thanks!

Posted by: Easy Grow Greenhouses at Feb 25, 2009 6:55:12 PM

My garden this year didn't do so well and I thought I had done all the right stuff. We didn't have a very warm summer here in Northern California so I'm going to blame my pitiful garden on a cold summer.

Posted by: Debra at Oct 24, 2011 11:51:45 AM