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By 5 Acres and A Dream
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Garden Notes: July 2023

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  • 1st: 0.48″
  • 2nd: 0.25″ 
  • 4th: 0.47″
  • 6th: 0.03″
  • 7th: 0.44″
  • 8th: 0.01″
  • 10th: 0.03″
  • 15th: 0.17″
  • 19th: 0.17″
  • 20th: 0.18″
  • 22nd: 0.37″
  • Total: 2.6 inches

  • range of nighttime lows: 63 to 73°F (17 to 23°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 80 to 93°F (26 to 34°C)
Weather Notes
  • Firstly, I’ll make note of my Thermometer Discrepancies post plus comments. I’m still mulling over exactly what data is useful to me in our lives here: rainfall surely, temperature logical, with humidity and heat index a large factor which only seems important on the day. I’m jotting the heat index down on my calendar, but I’m not sure what else to do with it yet.
  • The highs have been on the low side of normal for July, but it’s been humid, which means we’re just as hot and sticky as when they’re on the high side of normal!
  • The lows are unusual. Typically, this time of year our lows our in the mid-70s (   ), so we’re cooling off at night more that usual. This is welcome! It helps cool the house off. We haven’t had to use our Arc-Chill cooling blanket yet, and I often put on a flannel shirt when I head out for early morning chores. 
  • Rain forecast is always for “scattered thunderstorms” or “isolated showers,” which means sometimes we get it, sometimes folks down the road get it. (Which can be frustrating for a gardener.) I think the frequent cloudy days are what’s helped keep our daytime highs lower than usual.
Garden Notes
  • Only mornings are cool enough to be in the garden, but our humidity is in the mid-90s%, which means everything is drenched with dew. I have to get everything done by 9 or 9:30, when the sun hits the garden. It’s just too hot after that.
  • Afternoons are for canning or other activities.
  • Morning garden work includes picking, bed prep (like the potato beds, which are all done for the summer), some weeding, and I still have a few places to mulch.
  • This time of year, the garden is on the wild side.

Believe it or not, everything here is stuff I want: summer veggies, volunteers,
forage greens, and cool weather crops going to seed, which I’ll collect later.

The final load of potatoes, with one lone onion I found.

Final harvest weight  of potatoes was close to 80 pounds. We’ve had a lot of discouraging years with them, but this year they did well. I think the difference was preparing the bed with compost, bone meal, and azomite minerals. Last year I reviewed a book by Lynn Gillespie, High Performance Gardening. It’s primarily a beginning gardener’s book, but I gleaned a nugget of gold in her discussion of soil minerals. I did a little research and discovered that I already had a good solution in the barn, Azomite. It’s powdered organic trace minerals, and I started mixing small amounts with my compost. I think that’s what made the difference!
The other thing I want to note is that digging potatoes was easy this year. I planted the seed potatoes in shallow soil and then mulched heavily. All potatoes were right under the surface of the soil and easy to find. Very little actual digging required.
Early July harvest sampler: summer squash, slicing tomatoes, cucumbers
Okra and cherry tomatoes followed soon afterward.
It’s too hot for lettuce, so our July salads are usually cucumber and tomato based,
maybe with hardboiled duck egg, grated feta goat cheese, and ricotta/salsa dressing.
Or this one: tomato, cucumber, and black olives as a
treat. The dressing is my homemade ricotta ranch.

July canning sampler: pear sauce, zucchini, dill pickles

I’m guessing August will be hotter and dryer. August is when it’s recommended to plant my fall veggies, but it’s usually too hot and dry for that to make sense. 
How is everyone else doing? Gardens still making it? Not overworking? Anybody else looking forward to fall?


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