Now that fall is just around the corner I can honestly say this was the COOLEST summer (ever), well, that I can remember – temperature wise. From June-August there were only two or three “really hot” weeks. So Cal gardeners, how did the cool summer affect your garden? Did you find it an easier or harder growing season?

For us, after 25 years of growing food on our city lot the challenge comes with keeping the soil healthy.   Because healthy soil equals healthy plants.  But with limited space one has to make sure to rotate crops on a yearly basis; however, this is becoming more and more of a challenge with our neighbors enormous pecan tree.  It steals the afternoon shade and limits our moving sun loving crops around.  We hoped that by dosing the beds in nettle tea would help but not sure how long tomatoes can be planted in the same bed.  One might be able to get away with for two growing seasons, but not sure after that.

I think the cool weather help keep the summer harvest at a steady stream instead of a huge tidal wave. We did have to battle with a moderate infestation of the hated harlequin bugs (only remedy we’ve found is hand to hand, er, trowel combat) Also, this summer we had these wee little grasshoppers munch tiny holes in our summer greens. Wasn’t much to do about that either – just wave the white flag and give the greens over to the chickens, ducks or goats. There were some mite issues on the beans and for some beds it was a two pick harvest and then goat food. Our goats love bean leaves which is great because in summer, greens are rationed and hard to come by.

On the canning front, I have to say I am a somewhat behind.  I was doing a good job there for a bit keeping on top of things but then got busy with other projects and now am staring at a good bunch of veggies that need to be dealt with.   Of course part of me panics that brings on a slight case of paralysis of the brain and body, but then I tell myself “just take a deep breath, pick out one veg and put that up and then move onto the next one.”   Or perhaps I could just send out a call to friends “help” and then send them home with jars of goodies for their assistance.  Even with all the new projects and obstacles that got in the way this year, we are putting up more than we did last year.  I couldn’t believe it till Jordanne pointed it out saying, “there’s more can goods than ever and the season isn’t over yet.”  She’s right!  There’s still peppers, more beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and figs to be put up.

We were blessed with a wonderful winter squash harvest and that has grow into a pumpkin sized debate. I want to keep the stash for winter eats (soup, baked, pie, etc) and preserves (pumpkin butter) but the other camp wants to sell a few on the front porch farm stand. I am tempted to stick to my squash but they may be right, although I love seeing the shelves full of squash – there can be too many winter squashes!

The end of August starts a whole new chapter in the garden. Much of the summer crops will slowing come down during the month of September, replaced by cooler weather crops. Already flats of soil blocks are filled with fall sowings.

August Harvest Totals

1,228 lbs Produce

28 Duck Eggs

94 Chicken Eggs

50# Honey (updated)


4,878 lbs Produce

131 lbs Honey (updated)

278 Duck Eggs

597 Chicken Eggs

Growing Your Own Groceries?

So who here’s a Tallier? Care to share y0ur garden harvest totals? Whether it’s just a handful or a couple hundred pounds – all helps towards reducing our food print!

Don’t forget there’s a FREE SEED GIVEAWAY at our one of our sister networks, Freedom Gardens to help you get started


  1. Paula says:

    I wish I had the problem you had with winter squash. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to grow any squashes !

    Here’s my blog post about my August tally. Not much to talk about, it’s just too hot.

    • Anais says:

      @Paula: Really, why? Thanks for sharing and linking to your blog. Here’s hoping for cooler weather and a bountiful fall harvest!

      • Paula says:

        @Anais, I think I’ll never get winter squashes because some sort of brown moth keeps laying her eggs and the larva are eating the stems. I’ve tried everything short of pesticides. I had this problem with summer squash last year as well. 🙁

    • Jennifer says:

      @Paula, I agree, I’ve had trouble with them, too. 🙁 The first year I only had male flowers. This year the fruit will get about walnut size, then rot and fall off the vine. I wonder if it is a bug? Of 3 fruits I’ve lost 2. Also, the cucumber beetles are over the top!

      • upinak says:


        I recommend that you try in growing them in cooler weather. They do not like hot or humid weather at all. Rain is also pretty bad for squashes.

        I would have had a bunch but we had a lot of humidity and rain this year. Usually I have 4 lbs squashes and zukes, but this year I am lucky to get a half pound. Also, the squashes like a little acid in the soil. Not a lot. Something to think about next year. Try really early spring or very late fall and see what happens.

  2. Tim and Beth Farrar says:

    Our tally for August is 272 lb!! Unfortunately we didn’t track before that, but we had a blast, and for a first year garden we did great I think. Next year we should be smarter about progressive planting so some stuff keeps coming in longer, but we’ll learn as we go. 🙂

    • Anais says:

      @Tim and Beth Farrar: Way to grow, that’s a good hunk of produce there. You are right having fun is the most important part, enjoying the fruits of your labor and blessings of the land.

  3. Taya says:

    I was in Hawaii for almost the entire month, leaving the husband holding down the fort — it hit over 100 degrees every day that I was gone. He harvested a couple of cucumbers, and we had our first asparagus beans/Asian long beans/yard long beans when I got back. It has been a hard year for gardeners in the DFW area. Since we are just starting we didn’t have much anyway, but it has been great to learn where to place our gardens and how to set up irrigation. Knowing that even the experts here are struggling has eliminated any discouragement for us. Fall garden — here we come!

    While in Hawaii my aunt and I were able to make use of lilikoi (passionfruit), guava, and star fruit given to us by neighbors. We picked up local yogurt and kale from the fabulous farmers’ market in Kailua. The “tomato lady” had the most delicious island-style fried green tomatoes and tomato pesto pizza!

    • Anais says:

      @Taya: Sounds like you had a wonderful and yummy time in Hawaii. Love fried green tomatoes. Oh gotta try that tomato pesto pizza too. Yum, yum. Copy that – fall garden here we come. All the best to you

  4. Dan Langhoff says:

    My August tally is way down from July. Only 69 lbs compared to over 200 lbs in July. And September will be even lower because I am transitioning from summer to fall/winter crops. But I have so much food canned and put up, new records set in that department. I love keeping monthly tallies because it allows me to see the cycles of plant growth much clearer and it will help me plan for better yields in the future.

    • Anais says:

      @Dan Langhoff: I agree! Some folks just “pfffttt” at the idea but I think it’s really helpful to track your progress. It’s about you and the garden and you can only tell how well you are doing if you put figures to it. Yeah for new records set – what a great feeling that must be. Thanks for sharing.

  5. John Taylor says:

    I live in Arizona and this has been a hot summer for us! While we have had above averge rain fall it is not helping in the temp. dept. Early heat with more rain than normal wiped out my corn crop. We did really will with green beans and tomatoes. Pepper harvest were decent, but summer squash harvest was not that great. The extra rain has messed with out eggplant and left us scratching our head. My strawberries all succombed to the heat early on.

    • Anais says:

      @John Taylor: You win some and you loose some. All in the roll of the dice every season. Thanks for sharing and here’s hoping you have a better looking fall.

  6. Debbie says:

    You’ve had the coolest summer ever and I think up here in Ontario, Canada we’ve had the hottest ever. What did you guys blow all your hot air up this way? LOL. Despite the heat my veggie patch has done pretty good. I don’t tally but I have enough beans from my own plants put up to take my family through most of the winter. I’m pretty much sick of zucchini’s and cucumbers and my lettuce this spring was delish. I’m planting a fall patch of lettuce today to get me a few months of mouth watering homegrown salads. Tomatoes have been slow coming because of the heat but I’ve had enough that I haven’t had to buy a fresh tomato for the past month and a half. Keep up the colourful posts. Love pics of the critters and gardens. I’ve almost got the hubby convinced to get some chickens. Worm farm is still out but I’m working on it.

    • Anais says:

      @Debbie: Must have – sorry! LOL Too many zukes huh, we all know that feeling don’t we folks? Have you come up with creative ways to use them up? Love the phrase “working on it” Cuz we all are in our own ways. Press on and thanks for sharing.

  7. Jeni says:

    @Debbie, Well after a devastating hail storm we had followed by 50 below temps our poor garden has bit the dust. I was going to start tallying our goods this month too. Oh well we have learned from it and gotten our game plan together for next year.

    However we have gotten
    160 Chicken Eggs
    0 Duck Eggs (our gals are still a little young to be laying)

    And thanks to a local farm I have been able to can tomatoes (22 jars in fact), pears (14 jars) & peaches (7 jars). I did also manage to save our bell peppers and jalapenos from our garden so I can, can those today and hopefully the farmers market will have some good green beans this weekend so I can get to canning those too. Although we lost our garden, I’m thankful there is a farmers market and local farms to save us this year I am also thankful for your blog, you guys inspire me to do better and more things to become self-sustainable. I admire you dearly. I can’t wait to see an end of the year picture of your cupboard full of canned goods!!! If that doesn’t inspire people I don’t know what will! LOL

    • Jeni says:

      @Jeni, sorry I didn’t mean to reply to ya Debbie I meant to just post a comment…lol darn technology!

    • Anais says:

      @Jeni: Poor garden indeed, poor gardener too! Yeah for the chooks and farmers markets! Thank you kindly for the positive comments, we are certainly blessed that we are able to share our journey while educating and inspiring along the way. Happy harvest and putting up!

  8. Kris says:

    Hi Anais,

    If it’s any consolation, up here in the Puget Sound area of the PNW we barely had a summer this year … awful for growing any heat-loving veg (I’m only just now getting my first big batch of Sungold cherry tomatoes, and my roma tomatoes are still green and hard as rocks — quite a contrast from last summer when I got my first cherry tomatoes in late June and had tomatoes out the wazoo until mid October). I do have lots of snow peas and pickling cukes, and have had lettuce & spinach in abundance all summer long. The root vegetables seem to be doing fine (especially potatoes and carrots, which have been thriving in the cooler temperatures). Nearly everything heat-loving is either half the size or half the output as last year, alas. I’m hearing we will have a very cold winter this year, possibly a lot of snow too. So it has been a challenging year to say the least! I haven’t even bothered to weigh what I’ve harvested, since it has been such a sparse harvest so far … guessing less than 30 lbs. total. I am going to weigh my potatoes and carrots when I harvest those as I’m expecting a pretty good yield from them (Yukon Gold, German Butterball, and a couple of varieties of fingerlings).

    A little OT but I have loved the pictures of the ducklings! The are SOOO cute

    • Anais says:

      @Kris: Have to admit I did rather like the cool summer! Doesn’t mean we could have a scorching hot fall and start of winter. Better late than never, but you are right I do miss the “out of the wazoo” load that normally happens in summer! Ohhh, the potatoes sound yummy. Can’t never had enough homegrown potatoes beats the stores hands down. Thanks for sharing. Always interesting to read about other folks gardening adventures.

  9. Tim says:

    55 lbs 15.1 ounces for August bringing us to 272 lbs of produce and 808 eggs for 2010.

    • Anais says:

      @Tim: Way to grow!

  10. Roberta says:

    I am envious of the squash count. Everytime I plant squash I get vine borers. I’ve used BT and it helps a bit but the borers always seem to win.

  11. Christa says:

    how do you track the weight of produce? large scale? small?

    • Anais says:

      @Christa: Just a simple, kitchen scale that we keep on the back porch to weigh the harvest before it comes into the kitchen.

  12. Cherry says:

    Hi From Nz,
    As you are going into fall (Autumn) we are coming into Spring. Its officially been here for three days now and as spring tradition dictates it has been freezing!! However I have had some small harvest of mesculin salad leaves, silverbeet leaves (trying to avoid these too much as they are for the chickadees too), all the greens are up and growing well, especially the peas and their are a few late caulis which i hope will do well before it gets too hot. As for the main harvest, well we have had one sickly chook so really four are only laying and we have 129 eggs for August, a few down from July. Im looking forward to the September harvest with things really eginning to grow now.
    Love Cherry

    • Anais says:

      @Cherry: Kia ora! When we were there it May it was cold – freezing! So I bet you can’t wait till WARM weather. Here’s to a warmer weather and a bountiful harvest. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Dree says:

    The cool “summer” pretty much destroyed my garden. We are near the ocean, and got a grand total of: 2 zucchini (I kid you not!), 1 pumpkin, 5 small broccoli heads, lots of chard til my chard went to seed 🙁 , lots of oregano, cilantro and now coriander, lots of peaches (all eaten, our tree is about 4 years old), and figs. Not even enough hops to make them worth harvesting. My green beans seem to have been killed off by fog and powdery mildew. I am doing small batch jams with the figs I save from the mockingbirds and fig beetles.

    We have started putting in raised beds. We are having issues with 2 neighbors’ trees. in 2 yards. So we are moving the garden to the sunniest spot–the middle of the yard! Kids unhappy!

    • Anais says:

      @Dree: If it was cool here I can imagine how cold it was living by the ocean. One friend said she wore sweaters all day cuz the sun never came out. What a weird summer indeed and we’ve been hearing similar stories like yours from readers who live near the beach so you aren’t alone in what some are saying “the summer that wasn’t” Here’s to better fall!

  14. Momma Pajama says:

    Here north of Seattle, it’s been a cool summer too. My tomatoes are HANGING full of fruit, but only a few are starting to turn red. Lettuce, spinach, snap peas, carrots, potatoes, beans all did great. Peppers and melons were a big fail. My total for August was 17 lbs. 2 oz, bringing my total for 2010 in my 200 sq. ft. front yard garden to 37 lbs!

    • Anais says:

      @Momma Pajama: Way to grow, even with the crazy weather conundrum. Perhaps you’ll have a warm fall to help get those maters ripe!

  15. nicole says:

    my 10 yr old son & i keep a tally of our chicken’s eggs. We have 10 laying red Sussex (17 month old) hens, and to-date this year we’ve collected nearly 1,600 eggs!!! We also have an Auracana cross rooster, 2 brown Leghorns & 11 white Leghorns that are 14 weeks old, and one Sussex/Auracana cross rooster & one hen that are both 10 weeks old. We’re eagerly waiting for mid-Oct and mid-Nov when the ‘babies’ start laying, too!!

    Apart from a few hot days, up here in the Pacific Northwest it’s been a VERY dry but not overly warm summer… we didn’t get our winter rains like normal last winter/spring so it’s been perilously dry this year. (it’s raining today, lol)

    • Anais says:

      @nicole: EGGCELENT! Thanks for sharing

  16. Tamlynn says:

    Very cool summer here. We are only 2 miles from the beach, so lots of marine layer fog. Nearly everything was mildewed. Still able to get some good tomatoes, and lots of winter squash on the way! Unfortunately too many pumpkins and not enough butternut and spaghetti squash. I told the kids they could sell pumpkins. August tally 81 lbs of produce, 43 eggs.

    • Anais says:

      @Tamlynn: Way to grow! Can’t imagine how it was to be socked in with all that fog this year – “the summer that wasn’t!” Good luck with the pumpkin sales!

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