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Re: strange gardening year


Donna, it's been a very strange year here, too.  I, too, feel as if I am 
still waiting for summer to start - and others I talk to have said the same thing. 
 
  We had one very hot day - 90+ degrees - in April, of all times, followed by 
several frosts.  That was the hottest day of the so-called summer.  I think 
it may have hit 90 one day in early August.  The rest of the season it has been 
in the low 80s or just the 70s.  That is not usual weather for this area - 
can't remember another such cool summer.  The worst part was that most of the 
time was very cloudy, overcast and humid but not much rain fell.  I know that 
others in the area had lots of rain, but we seem to be in a dry pocket of some 
sort - our pond is down about a foot.  
  As for the growing part - my early garden was great.  Daffodils were better 
than in many years - the planned succession of bloom really worked so that I 
had daffs for nearly two months.  Some years they all bloom in one or two 
weeks.  The early perennials were good too, but I've never had a worse year with 
seed-starting.  Many of the seeds I planted just never came up, and slugs took 
out a lot more.  (Even if we didn't get rain, it was so humid that we had an 
awful slug year.) For instance I had to plant beans about three times before I 
ever got a good row, and I planted six packets of sunflower seeds and only 
have three pitiful plants.  Sunflowers were planted in pots in my container 
garden, in the vegetable garden, and finally I tried starting them indoors.  Even 
those didn't come up.  Can't understand it.  I usually have great sunflowers.  
  By midsummer I had given up and bought annuals.  Most of these were 
promptly eaten by deer, which have been much more numerous than usual.  I found a 
handsome four-point buck breakfasting on my phlox just as they were looking good. 
 Later they demolished the plantings on my front stoop - impatiens, miniature 
roses, zonal geraniums, and a couple of large hibiscus plants.  About the 
only thing that survived the various onslaughts and looked great were the turk's 
cap lilies growing in a large container.  They were pretty spectacular for a 
few weeks, but of course didn't last after they bloomed.
  The vegetable garden was also a disaster.  Onions, which I usually do well 
with, didn't mature - just browned off at less than an inch in diameter.  
Others in the area have had the same experience.  I think it was lack of sunlight 
- onions are day-length sensitive, I know.  After numerous plantings I finally 
have had beans, but not a really good crop.  Early peas didn't do anything.  
Many of the squash I planted never came up - after numerous plantings I have 
had a few squash, but not nearly the abundance I usually have.  I could go on 
and on with the litany of what didn't live up to expectations this year.  True, 
I was unable to work in the garden as much as I would have liked early in the 
season, but I can't imagine how that would have caused the failures I have 
had.
  As for weeds - I can't really say they are worse than usual.  Just the 
slugs and the deer and the lack of sunshine.

  Signs of fall.  We are seeing patches of color in the maples, and the 
dogwoods are beginning to turn.  Goldenrod is full and fall asters are starting.  I 
noticed yesterday that my Colchicums are blooming (I only have a few.)  We've 
had nights down into the low 50s but this week it has only been the high 60s 
at night - pretty warm - even though it didn't get out of the 70s during the 
day.  Today it is raining - a good, steady rain.  We haven't had a rain like 
this before this summer.

  All in all, a pretty disappointing year - maybe next year will be better.  
Of course at my age, who knows what next year will bring.
Auralie - NY Z5

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