Will and I have been trying hard to get ahead of the weeds everywhere. Some days, we make great progress. Yesterday, he ran the tiller between corn and bean rows in the Wolf Garden while I hand weeded the beet rows, then climbed on the Kubota to till around the squash and other spots where there was nothing planted, just to keep those little weeds from getting big enough to produce ten billion little seeds for next year.

Here’s Will, pulling pigweed in a patch of Bear Island Chippewa corn.

Today, Will was weeding in the Central Garden, where pigweed was getting about three feet tall. He threatened to bring out the chainsaw! I wanted to go back to the Wolf Garden to finish up the beets but, darn, every ten minutes, we’d get a wave of heavy rain! Will tried to keep weeding but had to run for the cover of the barn more than once.

Hondo keeps an eye out while we weed.

I chose to do housework, waiting until the weather had straightened out a bit. So far, it hasn’t. First, we get nice white, fluffy clouds and blue sky. Then we get black clouds and wind, with rain. What a day! But, yesterday, there was a big sheet of hail, only a dozen miles to the west of us. You can believe I was praying, watching it slowly slide to the south of us. Whew!

Our tomatoes are doing fantastic this year.

We’ve got a few tomatoes ripening with a ton more coming on strong. It won’t be long before I start to seed out those earliest tomatoes. I always try to save seeds from the earliest, best fruit. And, every year, even the later varieties seem to be coming on earlier and earlier. In the north, that’s a win, for sure!

With all the rain, our flowers are spectacular too.

— Jackie


  1. Drought remains and this week of high temps will probably pretty much finish off my garden. This is year 6 of drought. We’ve had a couple showers, but it’s so hot and windy that things dry up instantly. Tomatoes are still small and green. Squash bugs have wiped out both summer squash and zucchini. The acorn squash looks wilted so it’s likely going to expire too. Only good thing about drought is it is easier to keep up with the weeds. My guess is that heavy dew is all that’s keeping plants alive at this point as I cannot water.

    • Boy, it’s sure hard on folks when the weather just won’t cooperate. Unfortunately, stuff like this happens, all too frequently. This is the biggest reason I can up everything I can when I do get a good harvest or sale on foods we like. You just never know…..

  2. An Addition to my earlier post – just talked to my granddaughter in northern California, and her Hopi squash in the green house have taken off with six foot vinens while those planted outside are burning up and not doing well at all. She was already thinking of putting shade over them. They are having record heat, 107, also the same problem with the sweet potatoes, which is too big an area to shade. The plants in the high tower are, with sun shade coverings are doing well also. She, like me, is thinking it is the high radiation count we have in California from the sun (13 per cent and climbing a couple of years ago according to nasa). Any thoughts? Plus her Italian tomato ( aka climbing triple -crop) in the green house has taken off like a bomb!!

    • Giving plants some shade when the temperatures are in the triple digits will definitely help. I can’t speculate on the high radiation count but we all know that intense sun frys plants. We can only pray for more moderate temperatures and some decent rain.

  3. Need help, we live in the inland valley, south of Los Angeles, the sun rays are burning up the leaves on our sweet potatoes and Hopi squash. We put shade over them, but they are not growing. The Hopi barely a small plant trying to put on a bloom, no vine in sight, they are on drip irrigation, getting plenty of water. Also put straw on to help protect the soil and plant.the same thing is happening to the rest of the garden, out in full sun, although the drip irrigation and straw did help those that were strong enough and didn’t burn up from the sun rays. Should we just take the shade off the sweet potatoes and Hopi squash? Any suggestions would be wonderful. Thanks

    • If it is possible, get some rotted manure around the squash plants. I mean lots of it. Not only will it provide needed nutrients but will help cool the soil as it acts as mulch too. I’d leave the shade in place.

  4. I noticed today in places where there were flowers on my tomatoes, the flowers have totally fallen off. I’ve never seen this before, can this mean I’m not getting pollination going on? I am concerned for sure about it!

    I have some really tall pig weed too, and haven’t had time to weed, but I finally did my brassicas. They need a good mulching I think, as some are still small while others are tall. I’m not sure what’s going with them. But hopefully I can get them to straighten out.

    • When temperatures reach the nineties and above, both tomatoes and peppers often “blow” their blooms, in order to save the plant. It’s a defensive mechanism. When temps cool off, even into the 80’s, the flowers will set.

      Brassicas like cooler weather too, so when the weather straightens out, you should get some good growth.

      • Thank you! Makes me feel better. I weeded my corn patch yesterday, as well as onions and carrots. Sad to say most of my carrots didn’t sprout. So I just seeded them again. But I must have gotten into a chiggar nest, my ankles and calves are all but up and hurt like the dickens!!

        I am gonna try and continue to weed and get caught up. My roosters help in the big garden, digging up weeds. But there are more than I care to see!

          • My carrots are in smaller raised beds, that are waist height. They can’t get to them unless they fly through a fence, which it too much work for their fat behinds!

  5. You know, I always thought, as long as we have property where I can garden and orchard, we can feed ourselves plenty. Nope. I didn’t take into consideration the weather, the drought, unusually intense sunshine(intense UV rays), that can happen that we have no control over. I thought having control over my garden production was all that was needed. But, you never know when the weather won’t let you have control. High tunnels are much better, but in winter, if there is no inside heat, it is unpredictable, too. There is no guarantee you’ll have food. I better make sure the Lord is my only sure foundation, ’cause there is no other sure Help. Jackie, I love seeing pictures of your property, it’s so beautiful!!!

    • There is no control over much in gardening….and over much else in our lives, even though we think we’ve got it all handled. And, overall, we’re pretty much small potatoes. But if we work diligently in our gardens, we will get bountiful harvests, at least some years. And in those years, we put up everything we can for those years that are a flop. Like you said, there’s no guarantee you’ll have food from the garden. We just pray we will.

  6. We’ve had our ‘dry’ periods but nothing like other parts of the US (or the world for that matter). When we get rain, it isn’t a deluge and hail has, knock on wood, been rare this summer.
    Personally, I think some weeds are becoming a bit drought resistant which is NOT good. Think I *FINALLY* got the better half to understand that non-wild asparagus + grass = not good. I’ll deal with most of it in the fall.
    We’ve had a few small slicing tomatoes ripen, the larger ones are taking their sweet time (and will likely ripen all at once but I’ll eat BLTs daily-thank-you-very-much). First two paste tomatoes ripened and have been frozen.
    Current project is revamping the “fort” around the strawberry patch. Prior “protection” served its purpose but has reached end-of-practicality (aka we’re not getting any younger). Part is being repurposed, some new material purchase required but one just cannot put a price on fresh, homegrown June berries.
    Kudos for doing your best to prevent weed-seed for the future. And do dig a few taters if you can. Took me YEARS to convince the better half to grow taters. Each year since then, we plant more than the prior year.

    • Our drought of last summer was nothing like the multi-year droughts of many parts of the country. I can only hope and pray those folks get some much-needed rain for relief.
      I’m sure we have small potatoes under our plants. They’re getting done flowering and are nice and large. Those new potatoes are so tasty. I love them creamed with new peas and a bit of crumbled bacon!~

  7. Tomatoes here are refusing to set fruit (only small tomatoes easily set above 90 and NOTHING sets above 100 and over 6 weeks of triple digit already (with NO A/C)……. With another 2-6 weeks ahead!). Also….. you dealt with drought last year. We are dealing with drought this year. I can’t even get summer squash to germinate and grow! Do your happy dance that you are getting rain! Gardening is such a challenge. I tend to think here to give up on summer gardening and just go for the other 3 seasons……… Fall tomatoes should be planted in August and September here (average first frost date is mid November, normal average last frost date is mid March).

    The weather patterns are insane. Really…… flooding on “the strip” of Las Vegas, NV………. And else where…..

    • Good that you mentioned fall crops. I’m germinating plants now and have a whole slew of seed envelopes picked out for fall sowing/harvest. It’s been tricky this year for production of tomatoes and squash (pollination). I’ll always do a summer garden because we need the fresh food, but will be quite serious about a fall garden every year from now on, and just wish I had a few high tunnels for year ’round growing. Jackie’s books are a wealth of ideas how to preserve what we can get to grow, even preserving meals-in-a-jar. I thank God for her experience and knowledge that helps us.

  8. Your gardens are lovely and the crops are growing so wonderfully!!! I wish I could taste your tomatoes!!!

    Hondo cracks me up sitting in the garden!!!

    • I wish you could too! We just tried a new-to-us tomato Norwood Miners, and it was so juicy and sweet. Mmmm
      Hondo is always with us in the garden. He thinks he’s a big cheese, keeping watch.

  9. Glad you’re getting rain. We Finally
    Are receiving little bit here in Very
    Dry central Kansas. Have been
    Watering everything, but that’s
    Just not the same.
    Our Herefords are enjoying the
    Break from triple digit heat and
    So am I

    • I really feel for you. Last year we were in drought, although not as bad as some parts of the country.

    • I’ve often noticed the rapid and abundant growth in my garden after a rain. It is totally different than out of a hose. It’s called electroculture.

  10. Oh how I wish we would get some of that rain here in the drought-stricken west! Even with the hassle of extra weeds, consider yourselves blessed, Jackie.

    • Believe me, I do. I pray every day for the drought in the west and parts of the south to end. Having so much heat and dry is trying to everyone!

      • Thanks for your prayers, Jackie, for us out here in the dry, hot west. I’m in far north California where it’s normal. Nevertheless, it is far more intense this year and is a sign of the times. It’s not going to get better. The solar flares are more serious than ever, aka, coronal mass ejections in cycles of 4 to 6 years, every 400 years. But, these times are even more special than the length of these cycles.

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