Our local paper reported that it was colder the first week in July than January. That’s crazy! The unseasonably cool weather did not help the tomatoes out – it hurt them.

I was telling a friend of mine “we are going PAY for the cold weather, watch – it will get BLAZING HOT, so enjoy the sweater weather while you can!” Sure nuff. Temps are going to pop back into the upper 90’s to 100 this week.

The considerably cool July weather has kept the summer flood of produce at bay – for now. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers are just trickling in but hopefully not for long. I’ll trade my sweater for a baskets full of produce!

Yep, I rather be buried in produce than bundled up in a sweater or two I suppose. Well, talk to me when I have my head under the faucet, running water all over my face just to cool off, I may (will) change my tune by then.

We continue to receive positive feedback on our collection of FREEDOM SEEDS

“Crookneck and zucchini squash- Summer 2010. Hands-down, these ( have been THE best seeds I have ever purchased. And, these are leftovers from LAST year’s seeds!” – Homesteader Julia

Come take a walk through our urban homestead garden and check out how our garden is growing!

Lemon cucumber flowers from FreedomSeeds

Swiss chard

Haogen melon: seeds from

Garden helper: praying manti

Burgess buttercup: seeds from

Red Flame grapes slowly ripening

Summer colors

Honey Bee hovers over the Russian sage

More heirloom tomatoes

Rouge Vif d'Etampes Pumpkin: seeds from (sold out)

Provider bean flowers: seeds from

Squash blossoms

Thompson grape clusters

Echinacea, goldenrod and marigolds

Tromboncino squash: seeds from

Ladybug on the flowering fennel

How’s your summer garden progressing?


  1. Turling says:

    Well, the cooler weather reasoning would explain why my roma tomatoes aren’t growing. I have about 15 tomatoes on my single plant, but it’s only eight inches high!!!

    • Anais says:

      @Turling: That’s pretty good for 8″ high plant though. Hopefully the weather will warm up for those maters. Summer wouldn’t be complete without them.

  2. Elise says:

    Your swiss chard looks amazing! Mine is all bolting to seed and attacked by some sort of bug that tunnels in the leaves. 🙁 Here in CT I’ve been pointing the hose in my face all week to keep cool, it’s disgustingly hot!

    • Anais says:

      @Elise: That’s because this is our fourth or fifth sowing this year of chard. When they start to look crappy we turn them under and start a new batch. Though if you look closely at our chard there’s little round holes from these wee grasshoppers. I think you took our heat! 😉

  3. Kaigypsy says:

    Here on the Desert Plum homestead, our tomatoes aren’t growing either. My neighbor is not happy w/ his green onions. So far the only thing doing good are the beans, corn (just NOW getting silk on them), marigolds, some hot peppers (though still small for peppers). I’ve kind of given up on the sweet bell peppers as they never seem to take off like I’d hope. Maybe I should try again now that hot weather is promised for the next week or so.
    Looking good as always, folks!

    • Anais says:

      @Kaigypsy: July is still an OK month to try summer vegetables. Who knows with this weird weather we could have prolonged summer – HOT fall. Good luck!

  4. Robin says:

    It’s been our best year and our worst year. (third year total)

    7 Amazing 6′ tomato plants, lettuce that lasted so long, wonderful purple carrots, snow peas (from you guys!) that were so yummmy! Everything was going great.

    Until powdery mildew wiped out the peas, the sustained marine layer on the west side has been keeping the tomatoes green and the peppers small, and to top it off the local neighborhood field mice have finally figured out that I have a garden. Every day I wake up to more half-eaten tomatoes. I think my count this morning was 5. 5 lone little small new tomatoes.

    They’ve been nibbling on the squash as well. Its so disheartening watching our best tomato plant year yet be demolished in the night.

    But, I have to say the peas and squash from Freedom Seeds (when i got the goods) were amazing:) Thanks for all you guys do. Sorry that this was a bit of a rant.

    • Anais says:

      @Robin: Hey, it’s all about the GOOD, the BAD and the UGLY right? No worries, rants are welcome. Heck, they keep things REAL. Believe me we have our fair share of rants. Sorry to hear about the peas. Mildew can spread like wildfire and before you know it – everything is just gone! Oh man, that stinks about the mice. Guess you can’t keep the fact of fresh homegrown goodies away from that lot. What are you going to do about the mice situation? Anyone here have any suggestions? Glad to hear you too have had success with our Freedom Seeds Thanks for sharing and all the best this gardening season.

      • Robin says:


        Yep, I’ve decided that this year isn’t about the amount of produce, but learning about what tactics work in terms of crop rotation, trellises, fences, watering, and soil amendments. All the things we can do to make our plants strong and healthy.

        We had bought a non-poison trap, but it was sized for gophers and apparently it was a mouse. We thought there was a chance it could have been a small possum or a rat that we’ve seen around the yard. Likely we’ll try to get another small mouse trap.

        Do I need to do anything to the area where the peas were at before I plant anything else there? I was thinking of putting some peppers in that space.

        • Anais says:

          @Robin: Should be fine. Just add compost or organic amendments/minerals to feed the soil.

      • Mark T says:

        @Anais, A suggestion for the mice…get a cat! We had mice/rat issues, with them getting in the compost bin (even nesting on one occasion!), into the garden shed, into the garden, eating the Safer’s slug bait I used to use (now I just put up with them!)…and then we got a cat. It had one litter of kittens, which apparently brings out the hungting instinct, but certainly no issues with mice/rats on the property going on five years now!

        • Anais says:

          @Mark T: LOL Seemed to me like an obvious solution too, figured they already thought of that. We have two cats of our own. 😉

  5. Deanna says:

    Our tomatoes are going great, and so are our yellow squash! We only had one pepper plant come up, it is starting to take off, and our french melons didn’t come up either. But we are getting potatoes and lettuce – even in this heat here in PA, so we are thankful, enjoying the growing process and learning a lot!

    • Anais says:

      @Deanna: Glad to hear about your tomatoes and squashes. Lettuce in summer? That’s great. Keep on growing!

  6. Annette - CoMo Homestead says:

    Hey Dervaes folks,
    Our urban homestead in Columbia, MO was featured today on the front page of our local paper – and you got a shout-out! Sorry about the error on the size of your lot; I really don’t know where they got that number. I sent in a comment, so hopefully it will be corrected on the web version.

    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Vicki Schoenwald says:

    When the cucumbers and tomatoes start coming in, I will have a monster bumper crop. We are 6-8 wks behind in the Plains here, (Nebraska). Cold, wet spring, up until the last week in June, so we are plenty behind, now here comes the heat, this week and starting next, 90-100+, so go figure.
    My peppers are very slow, but starting to come in also. Grasshoppers are tiny but I am managing them with unfortunatly the nasty stuff that I have to resort to, to control them, if not, they WILL eat the entire garden.
    I think everyone is having the good, the bad, and the ugly, but that is farm’in as we say here, just have to go with the flow.
    My herbs are wonderful, but I have had to baby them, protect them, and generally just coddle them, to get them to this stage. I do farmer’s market and I have sold out of the herbs as people here are catching on to using them, with a little gentle nudge and recipes on how to use them in fresh produce.
    Your garden, Anais, looks so beautiful, I know though, that it is a battle to keep it that way. Remember, you may have lost the battle, but not the war on bugs. LOL
    Take care

    • Anais says:

      @Vicki Schoenwald: The heat is one here, going to be HOT this week. I saw birds in the garden this morning hanging around the chard bed, hopefully they were eating grasshoppers for breakfast. Sure can agree with that – tis the farm life and GROW with the flow. 😉 How is the lemon verbena plant doing? Good for you, would love to do Farmers Markets (we have FOUR within a few miles of our homestead) but there’s not much surplus left to sell! Thanks for the positive comments – have to pass it onto the farmers here who are working hard! All our love to you and the critters

  8. Rhonda says:

    I must say that Freedom Seeds is a great place to get your seeds! I planted Cherokee Purple tomatoes and while I don’t have tomatoes yet (late planting) the plants themselves are very sturdy and and very happy looking! They’re full of blossoms so I’m guessing I’ll be getting plenty of tomatoes soon!

    • Anais says:

      @Rhonda: Thanks for the positive feedback! We are thrilled to continue hearing seed success stories. Although our Freedom Seed company may be small we strive to provide quality seeds! Wishing you a bountiful and productive season!

  9. Heidi says:

    Sounds like you all got a touch of our San Francisco summer 🙂 We’ve been banked in by fog and cold as usual, but I think it was the lengthy rainy season that really messed up our tomato seedlings. We had to buy transplants this year, which I felt a bit ashamed of. But as my friend tells me, “there’s no shame in starts, only in not having any tomatoes at the end of the season.” i’m going with that. the starts are doing great in our front porch self-watering containers though we are just starting to see some green bulbs forming. my trombocino squash plants that i bought from you guys are doing well too, but they are just getting going. i’m hoping we will see some 6 footers by the end of the season, but given the delayed start I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • Anais says:

      @Heidi: Well, not any more. It’s HOT… really HOT. Good luck with the garden this year!

  10. Sue says:

    Well we had a very prolonged spring here in Portland, rain rain rain! My tomato plants are beautiful, but only one lonely tomato trying to grow. Herbs are doing well. My italian plum tree which we get the biggest harvest from (100 lbs. last year) apparently has “shot hole disease”. Neighbors and others in the city are seeing it on their apple, cherry and plum trees also. So not much harvesting going on, but I’ve learned alot about fungus! 🙂

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