As the weather got terribly hot, I got a little lax about watering every day and I could swear my plants are actually doing better for it. We are finally, finally getting viable roma tomatoes from the garden after weeks of only oodles of green ones and then a week or two of every red tomato being half-gone to blossom end rot by the time they ripened. I collected two baskets full this week and today MB put them through my mom's old food mill and we froze sixteen cups of sauce to use in chili and spaghetti. I've also picked six or seven lovely pink Brandywine tomatoes and there are a lot more on the plant waiting to ripen. The grape tomato plant is booming, and it looks like all of my mystery volunteer plants are cherry-sized. We'll be overrun by cherry tomatoes by the end of the summer!
The pepper plants are doing quite well, though not yielding as much as the tomatoes. I think that's typical, though. I definitely want to plant more peppers next year but space them out better. I'm never sure when to pick some of the new varieties like the red chilis and Poblanos. There are quite a few peppers on the red chili plant, but they're not red so I haven't felt confident to pick them. The Cajun belles are doing well, too, though they are not big bell-pepper sized peppers like I expected. They're bell pepper shaped, but very small! I need to get MB to report on the various kinds and how they taste, how spicy they are, etc. since I don't eat anything but the sweet bananas and bells chopped up in sauces.
The zucchini plants totally died back and though one small one has re-grown, it hasn't produced any squash yet. The cucumbers are more or less inaccessible now due to their own vine and the snake gourd vines covering their fence frame. If I grow any next year, I'm going to turn the frame 90 degrees so the opening is facing out.
The snake gourds are starting to bug me, truthfully. They are WAY overgrown and have started to encroach on the tomatoes. The plants have a funny smell, too, like a faint but pervasive aroma of pee. I'm not a huge fan. As much as I hate to prune healthy plants, I really think I'm going to go out there this week and cut them back.
The blueberry bushes are still really pitiful and don't appear to have grown at all, but they look healthy other than the sunburned leaves, so maybe they're just slow starters. I think the strawberry plants are finally thriving under the cover of the nearby tomato plants. The last time I saw them, they looked good. That was a week or so ago, though. I hope they're doing well under there.
I also finally caught a photo of one of the really neat dragonflies that have been hanging around the plot all summer. I just missed getting a photo of a little green praying mantis on the banana peppers, too, which is SO cool!