Summer Garden Update

We are entering into what is typically the hottest time of year.  Night time temps aren’t there yet, but the day time temps are brutal. There is a big difference between 100 and 110.  Big difference.

The end of June/first part of July is always the worst.  That’s when we hit the big ones.  That’s when we lost a hen last year.  That’s when we tend to approach the 120 mark if not surpass it.


We are well into the “Why do we live here?” season.  We’ve been at or near 110 for the last couple of weeks.

Mid-July through August is when we normally have monsoons.  Humidity goes up, but the temps come down.  By down I mean they go from 115-120 down to 100-110, but sticky.

Dry heat is like a convection oven, moist heat is like a sauna.  Why do we live here?  🙂

Well, for one thing, I can garden all year round.  And the garden doesn’t mind the heat too much.  Lots of mulch.  Lots of water.  Shade if you can get it.  Mainly lots of water.  Every morning.  Fill up the ollas, water well along the edge of the bed.  Deep water on the places with no ollas.  Lots… lots… lots of water.

The squash and zucchini are my favorite right now.  I’ve been eating them with breakfast.  Yummy!  I harvested two of each yesterday.  I’ll get another 2-3 tomorrow.  Some plants are just coming on board.  Some aren’t quite there yet.  We have lots of squash in our future.


The pollinators are really working hard in the morning.  The beds are wild with activity.

Green beans are starting to come in.


We didn’t end up getting any measurable amount of green beans last year, so this year we planted some different varieties and we’re hoping to find the ones that works best for us.  They are coming in nicely.  The ones in the beds have responded well to the amendments.  The raised beds are turning into little jungles.  Hopefully I can keep a handle on the grass.  Ugh…

Cucumbers are making a jungle of their own.  I’m not seeing any decent sized cukes yet, but kind of like the melons they tend to sneak up on me, even with the trellises this year.  Which reminds me, I still have two more to install.


Tomato production has slowed, but is still coming in.  Same with the peppers.  When the plants are working so hard to survive the heat they can’t put as much into the fruit.  They are worth keeping though.  Especially the peppers since the fall harvest is really the big one.


Melons, of course, are one of my favorite things to grow and EAT.  The first one this year will definitely be the OTT, but the watermelon are vining out like maniacs trying to catch up.



And the transition to AWESOME corn is going well.  Here are the prep and first growth pictures.


I just realized you can see a little bit of the BIO CHAR! that was part of this soil.  Hopefully that helps out a bit with the water issue.  Corn loves the water.

That’s about it.  I took the weed eater to the grass around the beds this weekend and got it cleaned up.  I left it to try and smother new growth, but I should probably get some straw to further discourage it.  It’s going to be tough cleaning things up when the vines are running the place.

I didn’t get any pictures but the butternut squash vines are some of the most hardy and aggressive I’ve ever seen.  Those things could take over the world!  Which reminds me, regular potatoes were a total bust, so I need to get the sweet potatoes going.

I hope you all are enjoying the summer.  There is nothing like the warm sun on your back.  Be safe.  God bless!

Linked at the Homestead Barn Hop

********Update: I forgot I had taken these over the weekend.  I thought I would throw them in.  They are dragon tongue green bean flowers.

dragon tongue green bean flowers 2 dragon tongue green bean flowers

This entry was posted in Arizona Garden, beans, BIOCHAR, cucumbers, desert garden, Dripping Springs Ollas, grass, mulch, Old Time Tennessee Melons, ollas, peppers, potatoes, sqash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, trellis, zucchini. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Summer Garden Update

  1. any hints on working with sweet potato’s when you don’t have that kind of heat, I am trying short season for my area this year, thankfully all seven kinds of my potato’s are growing, some are taking their time in the one way I planted them but they are coming, its just a matter of time, the ones that were planted in the dirt and are my early producers are already well over a foot tall and wide, they are to be ready in 50 to 55 days, which will give me early potato for fresh eating.

    Loved seeing all the plants, so far ahead of my garden, but we are getting things in daily now 🙂

    • I’ve only grown the sweet potatoes once. They worked great, far beyond my expectations, but I’m definitely no expert and I’ve never really gardened anywhere except the desert. So, I’m not much help. I need to try some different things with potatoes. I would love to grow those. I’ve got a couple in some small containers that are still alive. That may be the best way for me because I can put them in the shade of my trees. Any day you get to eat something from your garden is a good gardening day!

  2. Oh the garden is looking fantastic and I have everything crossed for you regards your corn this year 🙂

  3. Wenz World says:

    Your photos are great. I planted corn this year, too! I hope it all grows well. All the best to you.

  4. Laura says:

    I am impressed that you keep things alive in the AZ summer heat. My parents give up and just garden Sept-May. Do you have afternoon shade? I recently put up shade cloth over my tomato plants here in TX. I hope it will help extend the season a bit.

    • Thanks! I can understand cutting the season short, but there is just too much good produce to be had! No real shade in the summer except under the trees, which is pepper territory right now, with a couple of artichoke, sunchoke, and one tomato plant thrown in. Shade cloth helps, but I would need so much of it with all of the expansion this year. I now have 6 4×8 beds as well as my original 17×26 garden. I need more land. 🙂

  5. tntdreaming says:

    Amazing growth in your garden!! I cannot imagine living in that kind of heat…they say up here in the Pacific Northwest that summer starts on July 5th…generally around 95 is the highest it gets (there are those exceptional days though) that is way hot enough for me!! Happy gardening!!

    • I love the Pacific Northwest, so many trees and so much green. Cannon Beach has to be one of my favorite places ever with the rock formations and the beautiful beach on one side and a thick, old forest on the other. It all depends on what you are used to, but honestly you never quite get used to 115+.

  6. nebraskadave says:

    Keith, our last storm pounded my corn out of existence with hail. I don’t have time to replant as I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Las Vegas. I have a grand daughter there that’s graduating high school. So I’ll be gone for a week which will not really leave enough time for growing corn. I may just plant what I have left and see how far it gets when I get back. This has been the worst year for gardening. First every thing got frozen by the heavy frost two days after the frost free date then three weeks later came the storm with 100+ MPH winds and baseball size hail. I had a few tomato plants left from seed starts to replant but the rest was a bust for this year. I’ll have to frequent the Farmer’s Market this year for my veggies. I do have a few plants in my backyard garden that missed the wind and hail but it’s just enough for fresh on the table eating. I’ll have to see if I can plant some fall stuff which will require me to fire up the grow lights and start some seeds again. I understand some areas of the country have fall garden plants but not even seeds can be found here in the fall. I suspect that maybe your area, Keith, has fall plants because you can grow during the winter. I started most of my plants this year and they seem to be stronger and healthier than the nursery plants I bought. I planted the nursery robust looking plants at the same time I planted the 1/4 the size seedling plants. The nursery plants aren’t all that much bigger but the seedling plants have surpassed the nursery ones. Now we will see how the harvest turns out. Which one will be the winner. My bet is on the ones I started under the grow lights. This has been the most successful seed starting year of all. It definitely has saved the day from the terrible spring weather.

    Have a great productive week.

    • Wow, Dave, that’s terrible! So sorry to hear about your weather. Hail, wins, snow, tornadoes… I’ll keep my four months of “why do I live here” weather. Hang in there! Hopefully you can still harvest some things this summer.

  7. Bill says:

    It’s been so crazy here trying to keep up with summer that I’m way behind in my blog reading and just seeing this. I can relate to it. We don’t get as hot here as you do there, but we’ve been in the mid 90s all week with high humidity. I’ve been drinking (and sweating out) gallons of water every day!

    I love the photos from your gardens. You’re raising some beautiful food there!

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