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In the garden…struggles of zone 9

July and August are my least favorite months to garden. It’s hot and humid (95+ degrees, 90% humidity most days) and we’ve been gardening for 5 months already. We’re tired and the plants are tired.
A lot of people in our area just go ahead and till up their gardens in July. We don’t, we try to get at least some of the plants to survive the months of July and August and hopefully by mid September they’ll start producing again.
We’ve had a really busy week and we actually got a little over 2″ of rain this week (we’re still down 11″ for the year) so I haven’t been out to the garden in a couple of days. When I went out yesterday evening, this is what I found…
Lots and lots leaffooted bugs. These and the pill bugs have been my nemesis this year. Last year was the first time I had leaffooted bugs but they were nothing like this. When I go to town today, I’ll be getting some citrus oil to spray everything.

Our garden seriously needs to be mowed since it rained. Eventually we’d like to have walkways with wood chip mulch but only a small part got wood chips this spring.

The zucchini looks good, but isn’t producing anything. I think it’s because of the heat and the bugs.

Our potato and bean beds have tarps over them right now since they are done producing. I’m hoping the tarps will help generate enough heat to kill the pill bug infestation we had.

This just makes me laugh. Our kale and swiss chard that was planted in OCTOBER is still going strong. We’re still picking it a couple of times a week for meals and we’re still sharing with friends. The kale is so top heavy that it’s falling over. We’ve tried staking them but it’s not really helping.

We picked the last of our garlic and onion. We’ve also harvested all our cantaloupes and watermelons. We picked our first okra so we should be getting okra for the next few months which will be great.

One of the great things about living in zone 9 is that we can garden pretty much year round. Not much will be harvested during the next couple of months but when fall comes, we’ll be planting all kinds of cold weather crops to take us through the winter. As I look at my dismal bean harvest (yet, again), I’m comforted to know that I don’t have to put up green beans to have green veggies this winter. By November, I’ll be able to go out to the garden and pick lettuce, kale, chard and spinach. by December I should be able to harvest broccoli and by January I should have some great looking cauliflower.

I know if you live further north your gardens are lovely right now, so please leave some links to them in the comments so we can enjoy them.

This post is linked to Barn Hop, Natural Living Monday, Mostly Homemade MondayClever Chicks Blog Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Tuesday Garden Party, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways,

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Saturday 20th of July 2013

I am in south/central Texas. It is hotter than heck here for sure. We are in drought too. This past week we had 3 wonderful days of rain. Our garden is in very sad condition. The heat has just finished the garden. We got a few cantaloupes but not near as many as normal. We hope to plant some more later for a fall garden. In this part of Texas we garden better in the fall and winter months.

Angi Schneider

Sunday 21st of July 2013

We had that same was wonderful. I really like to garden in the fall/winter also, less bugs & less weeds. Thanks for visiting.

The Prudent Homemaker

Friday 19th of July 2013

I live in a zone 9, too, but we don't get much rain here; we get about 2" a year (I live in the desert). I have not seen those bugs, but we do get squash bugs, and they DO stink when you smash them!

Tomatoes, green beans, and squash don't like to set flowers when it's above 90º. It's been 118º here.

We have a pill bug problem, too. I have heard that diatomaceous earth works; I need to get out there and put some out there. I hope it does!

Things that I am harvesting now: chard (mine bolts every year in April; it will get 6 feet tall if I let it; I replant in fall and again in February every year), green onions, Early Elberta peaches, grapes and herbs.

I just planted more Armenian cucumbers (the only ones that produce anything for me) from seed. I have new basil seedlings coming up in the front yard, which we recently redid, and some melon seeds that I am trying. I also planted miniature white pumpkins this week. I need to replant my zucchini and butternut squash tomorrow sometime as well as more zinnias! The pill bugs ate some of mine.

The Prudent Homemaker

Sunday 21st of July 2013

This comment has been removed by the author.

Angi Schneider

Sunday 21st of July 2013

Thanks for sharing, Brandi. We're in drought right now but we get way more than 2" of rain a year. I tried DE and it slowed them down but we had a huge infestation. One thing that worked but was gross was putting some water in a can or jar (I used small pickle jars) with some dry yeast and burying them until the top of the jar is level with the ground. The bugs are attracted to the smell and fall right in. But I'll warn you the smell of decomposing pill bugs and yeast is pretty bad.

By the way, I love your blog. I'll be linking to your 40cents series in my unemployment/underemployment post this week.

Debra @ Homespun

Wednesday 17th of July 2013

The other day on the porch, my grandkids were playing with a couple of pill bugs they'd found in the front flower garden...I didn't think of them as harmful to veggies :) Here ( western PA ) we have had alot of rain which has helped some plants but done others no good ( including green beans which I thought I'd do in a container this year ....too much flooding ) Tomatoes and basil and now cukes are doing well though and the flowers are taking off...

As to zucchini my neighbor has a few plants and is getting several a day but that is typical for our area. Never seem to have a bad zucchini year here ! :)

Angi Schneider

Thursday 18th of July 2013

Normally, pill bugs only eat decaying material. But when there an over abundance of them, they'll eat seedlings and other tender greens. This spring I would have seedlings one day and they'd be totally gone the next. I've seen the pill bugs climb up the green bean stem and start eating the leaves. It was crazy. We were collecting them by the handfuls in the morning.

I'm excited your tomatoes, basil and cukes are doing well. I know too much rain is just as bad as not enough. Thanks for visiting.

Tammy N

Tuesday 16th of July 2013

I guess every climate has its challenges! I'll be jealous of your flowers when we have snow and freezing temps here in utah this winter.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 16th of July 2013

Yep, every climate has it's challenges. When I post garden updates in April and May and we're already harvesting a few things and other people still had snow in the ground I try to expain that everything's not rosey here all year. But it's hard to really commumicate that.

By the way, I love your post on nasturtiums. Your watercolor picture reminds me of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady.


Monday 15th of July 2013

We're gardening in Zone 8 here in Texas and our kale looks exactly like that! :) My cucumber vines are pretty but not being very bountiful at the moment - same things for my bean vines. They just started really flowering this past week so I'm hoping they'll start doing something. I have one cherry tomato plant that has been producing like crazy but my other two big tomato plants are such pansies. The squash vine borers got to my squash/zucchini plants, so I'm contemplating starting new plants and going for a fall harvest. And for some reason, the basil this year just has been lackluster. We're sitting around 70 degrees this morning with clouds and scattered rain. I plan on fertilizing this evening and hoping this reprieve from the 100 degree days will help the plants along. I do love my fall garden, though...lots and lots of lettuce and spinach.

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 16th of July 2013

That's good to know, Deanna. The 100 degree weather is hard on the plants, hopefully a reprieve will help. Fall is my favorite time to garden also.