The rush and joy of spring is over, the fall clean up is far away, and everything is growing and producing (even the weeds). This is what I call the midseason crazies. Planting is still going on, especially the rush to get fall harvested or overwintered crops in. Harvesting is going, going, going especially with the flowers which require a daily 'harvest walk' to cut and grab everything at it's perfect peak moment for the longest vase life and beauty. Chores, like weeding, irrigating, and just general plant care pile up. It's pretty much the same amount of work of any other time of year, but as the summer heat picks up, you try to get it all done in those few morning or evening hours that are more tolerable, or even necessary to get done while it's cool. If you harvest flowers in 80+ temps, you will have sad flowers and then you'll be sad too. It is a game of prioritization. What MUST be done before the sun gets crazy?
This year has been milder than most and a mid July rain storm gave us a thankful break from the cramming, but the heat will return...
Pinch, pinch, pinch. I'm not dreaming but the plants may be. Many of them benefit from pinching (cutting the growing top of the plant off to promote more and longer stems). Here is the aftermath of the dahlias getting pinched. Behind them the cosmos, celosia, sunflowers, snapdragons, carnations, delphiniums, basils, calendulas, zinnias and more all got pinched. It can seem harsh as I sometimes cut away more than half the plant! But the plants go 'hey mean person, you wanna cut me down? I'll show you!' and within just two days you'll see a surge in growth that will reward you with many more and much longer (= usable) stems! Not everything likes it and some it wouldn't matter to at all but those that benefit from it get pinched!
After pinching and getting all those long, long stems to grow, they will need some support so they don't get knocked down by the blustery gusts of the world. There are different types of support and these carnations and snapdragons like nets. Small posts are put in the ground on both sides of the row and reusable and almost indestructible plastic netting is placed horizontally just at the tops of the plants and their stems grow up and through. Larger, bushier plants like sunflowers or dahlias like to be corralled by stringing twine around the edges of the posts. Each method can make harvesting a bit harder but without them I might not have any stems to harvest!
What's available this weekend?