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Field Notes: Summer Garden in Zone 10b

The garden I started in January and started sharing about in February is looking lush and providing my first harvest! Here's a brief update with photos of my Summer Garden in Zone 10b.

What I've learned the most lately is that July and August is when things really seem to thrive here. We're finally seeing sunny warm days reaching highs of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. My tomato plants have been producing and I've experienced my first blushing tomatoes and harvest in July. I also have some once sorry-looking cucumber plants climbing and producing.

Something new I added in July is a trellis for the cucumbers. My husband attached a simple frame to one of the garden boxes and I used yarn (since I didn't have twine) to create a grid pattern that has worked well for training the cucumber plants vertically.

PESTS. I've been experiencing one of the most disturbing season with pests. I thought the gnats in early spring were bad....well, rats and grasshoppers have them BEAT. I returned from a trip to find my first marzanos all half eaten or completely gone. I took a poll on instagram to try and figure out what people thought it was that was eating my tomatoes. Much to my surprise (and disgust) I found rat droppings next to the tomato plants one morning (yuck!). Since then I have serran wrapped the bottom part of my tomato plants since they were in containers until the bottom tomatoes were harvested. I also sprayed peppermint essential oil (known to be a deterrant) all around the plants. Hopefully the rats will be gone soon, but from my understanding they're pretty common for urban gardeners in Orange County.

The zinnias I planted bloomed beautifully and I soon realized I wish I would have planted many more. Luckily I have some succession sown for late Summer/Fall blooms and look forward to seeing those soon.

I also was able to propagate a tomato plant and able to get two plants planted from it that are doing well. I searched how to propagate tomatoes from suckers and found so many resources on YouTube. It's very simple and I'm happy I've had success, so it's something I plan to do for future tomato seasons and will keep it in mind as I'm making plans.

As for Fall - I don't have anything significant planned as I'm feeling the need to tighten up any excess expenses on this newfound hobby of mine. Gardeners out there know exactly what I mean when I say those seed packets and plant starts can quickly add up! Because of this, I took a look at what I already have and am hoping to focus on a few greens and just riding out the tomatoes as long as I can.

Lastly, I'm finishing this post on the day I discovered my first OPEN gooseberry bloom! This is a plant start I bought at the farmers market MONTHS ago that I really started to lose hope for until I removed strawberries from the bed it was in. With the season changes it finally picked up and is HUGE. I'm so excited to see how it produces. It is currently thornless and I'm hoping it stays this way (if it doesn't I'll have to remove it for kid safety).

Hope you enjoyed this little update and can see how much joy this little project of mine has given me. I encourage you to find something that can bring you this level of satisfaction and joy - and always remember it's never too late to sow goodness into an area of your life, you never know the impact it can have on your future self/those around you.


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