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Re: back to gardening....

So how did everyone elses garden fair this year?

This has been a most disappointing garden year for me.  Early 
heat brought out all the daffodils at the same time - they all bloomed
in a ten-day period instead of the ideal six or seven weeks like last 
year.  Yes, they were spectacular, but over too soon.  
Then the rest of the spring was cool and cloudy.  I know that the
people on Long Island, and even down-county Westchester complained
about too much rain, but it didn't get here.  We were just overcast and
dank with very little percipitation.  Peas were reasonably good, but not
as good as some years.
Then it was so cool, I delayed planting beans and tomatoes.  I 
usualy have hanging pots of cherry tomatoes in my breezeway.  I 
started them indoors as usual, but when I put them outside they didn't
thrive - finally all died.  Some I started later have come on nicely, but
have no fruits.  In fact, none of my tomatoes have done well.  They 
bloom, but don't set fruit.  I have had only three tomatoes from seven 
plants, and one of those had a bad spot.  
For some reason I don't seem to have many bumble bees this year,
which may explain the poor fruit set in tomatoes. 
Germination has been poor for all sorts of things.  I have planted 
several packages of sunflower seeds, and only have five plants. Usually
I have lots of sunflowers.  
My first plantings of squash didn't come up
at all, and subsequent plantings have not grown well. I have not had
any squash so far, and the only ones that are even showing any 
hopes of fruit are a couple of Zuchetta rampicantes.  The other five
kinds I have planted aren't doing anything.  Just have three or four
leaves.  I can't understand it.  I usually have a reasonably productive
garden, even if I don't practice too tidy weeding.
Beans are the one good crop.  Once I felt the ground was warm enough,
I have planted a succession every ten days or so, and we have had 
a steady supply of green beans - and they are still coming.  But even
here some of the germination has been spotty - some rows  have come
up with gaps of a foot or so between plants, when I planted the seed
only a few inches apart.  Also, one planting of old Kentucky Wonders
has grown to the top of the fence and into the dogwood tree outside
the fence, but still hasn't produced a single flower.  Strange.
Onions have done pretty well.  They were looking very good until the
recent extreme heat, when many of them keeled over.  I am enjoying
them, even if they are small.  I don't mind small onions - often a small
one is all I need.  Most are about golf-ball size, but a few are still 
hanging in and will make large bulbs.  Leeks are pretty good, too.
None of the leafy greens I have planted have done well, but I blame
the dry conditions for that.  Several plantings of lettuce just didn't
come up, but it was just too dry.  Basil, dill, cilantro, tomatillos, are
other things that just didn't come up.  I blame the dry weather - I
just couldn't haul water to start seeds.
I have had neither the time nor the strength to maintain my garden
in the best condition this year, but it seems to me that things have
grown much more poorly than my lack of maintenance would account
for.  In past years, things have pretty much taken care of themselves.

In the flower garden, it was interesting what survived the mild winter
and what didn't.  I seem to have lost all of my Oriental poppies which
had done well for me for years.  The spring garden was brilliant with
common dame's rocket, and the garden phlox are showy now.  The 
perennial foxglove, Digitalis ambigua, was pretty fine for a few weeks.
Beebalm is about past but has been very colorful. I know none of this
is exotic or even interesting, but they do make a showing.  The many
hardy geraniums have done very well this year - some are still blooming.

The container garden in my breezeway is lush right now, and the
large container of self-planted Canada lilies was pretty spectacular
for a couple of weeks.  I really must come to grips with turning that
pot out and replanting.  There were 23 stalks of lilies in the container
this year, but now that they have bloomed, they are looking pretty

Not a good year, but then maybe we will have another chance next
year  - 

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