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August 9th, 2012

Cool, Cool Summer

debbie_tnHere in Olympia we’ve had about 5 days in the 80s or higher, so the tomatoes are just starting to set fruit and peppers are starting to flower. This is my first full season at my new garden after 25 years at my other place, so it’s like learning to garden all over again. There aren’t many big slugs here but lots of the little ones, which are much more insidious. You don’t realize they’re there until everything is gone and you wonder what happened. Together with a very cold, late spring, there were no early greens to speak of. Most are just now putting on size after several plantings.

GoldenEgg

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The ‘Golden Egg’ summer squash (above) from Burpee is now coming on and is quite tasty; looks nice, too.

LittleJade

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I got one ‘Little Jade’ baby Chinese cabbage (above), which was actually quite large.

NeonGlowMix

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The Swiss chard Neon Glow Mix (above) from Renee’s Garden is pretty; tastes like chard. ‘Yellowstone’ carrot is a beautiful light yellow and quite sturdy but a bit dense for my taste to eat fresh. I’ve been grating it and putting it into everything when I remember. I’m growing the red carrot ‘Atomic Red’ for fall/winter. ‘Capitano’ bush bean is just now putting on beans. I don’t think it’s fair to rate it because those dang slugs kept eating the leaves back so the plants are quite tiny. Got to give it points for continuing to try to grow and reproduce!

Shangri-LaMarina

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Last year’s viola ‘Shangri-La Marina’ (above), an All-America Selections winner, made it through the winter and is going gangbusters. —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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July 26th, 2012

Summer Update from Wisconsin

kathy_tnIn Wisconsin we’ve been sweating in above-average heat, and watering due to below-average rainfall, to say the least. I do have to say that the melon vines are more vigorous than any we’ve ever grown so I’m hoping we get a good crop.

yellow Romano-type bush bean 'Capitano'

yellow Romano-type bush bean 'Capitano'

We harvested the first ‘Capitano’ beans (left) and the flavor is better than I expected since bush varieties usually fall short in the flavor comparison to our pole beans.

The ‘Cherry Stuffer’ pepper has come in second place for earliest pepper, and we actually picked it red! The first in were ‘Garden Sunshine’ peppers, which we picked in the yellow phase. I can’t wait for them to turn color before picking them. We’re still waiting on the other peppers as well as the tomato varieties.

zukeAnd also the zucchinis, believe it or not. They got ignored and made it through blisteringly hot temperatures with no watering only because they were mulched. They’re starting to look like real zucchini plants again (right) and we should have zukes shortly.


speckled and streaked flowers of zinnia 'Pop Art Red & Yellow'

speckled and streaked flowers of zinnia 'Pop Art Red & Yellow'

I should also tell you that the zinnias (left) and salvias are blooming their heads off.

Well, back to eating salads, cucumber salsa, gazpacho, and grilled summer veggies (I love this time of year!) while keeping cool.  —Kathy Shaw, Neenah, Wisconsin

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