Gardening Around the Weather

Here in Seattle, we like to repeat the words of Mark Twain:  “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in Seattle.”  (Don’t quote us.  For one thing, the original phrase read “San Francisco,” not “Seattle,” and for another thing the quote is apocryphal–Mark Twain probably never said it at all.  But let us indulge our harmless little fantasy…)

I am writing at my desk in mid-July, wrapped in a blanket and wearing two layers of socks.  Even for Seattle, the summer has been cold.  A “hot” day has been one that hit 70, and those have been very few.  The tomatoes–always touch and go in the Pacific Northwest–are shivering.

I don’t know about y’all, but this weather has totally messed with my gardening plans.  The broccoli was supposed to be grown and eaten in time for the tomatoes to be planted.  But this spring and early summer, even the broccoli took its time coming to fruition, and was not ready by tomato-time.  Where would the tomatoes go?  I decided to just plant them in the middle of the broccoli, eat the broccoli whenever it decided to show itself, and remove the plants in time for the tomatoes to grow large.  Gardening often requires a creative abandoning of the best-laid plans.

So yes, we were eating the winter vegetable, broccoli, in early July.  It was tasty and sweet.  The broccoli’s leafy plants are gone now, and all we need is some sun to shine on the other poor, confused vegetables.  And sun or no (today’s prediction?–July 15th?–high of 62, and cloudy…) our spirits lift with the blossoming of the first sunflower.




  1. I live in Sacramento (the tomato capitol of the world) and our weather has been unusually cool also. We are probably 6-8 weeks behind where the tomatoes usually are this time of the year. My daughter and her boyfriend live in Seattle and were just down visiting for a week. We keep trying to convenience the BF to move here on the theory that the daughter will move back with him. I was so afraid that it would be 108 degrees all week long and the BF would really hate it but it’s been in the 80’s with clear blue skies. I forgot to tell him that this isn’t typical July weather.

  2. Of nearly a dozen early season tomatoes I am testing (in Everett, north of Seattle), I have had one cherry tomato. Slugs got most of my peas though I am now over run with the one that did survive to thrive (Golden Snow Pea from Uprising Seeds in Bellingham). The zucchini looks like it is trying to do its thing but the melons think they have sinned and been sent to Siberia when they may have preferred Hades. It is nice to still be getting strawberries and I need to go check my wild blackberries just over the fence.
    BTW the lettuce is still sweet and I am starting to get used to having salads with strawberries instead of tomatoes.

  3. Much colder than normal in France too at the moment. Back in winter clothes. However, second crop of strawberries coming on, courgettes (zucchini) doing well, pumpkins flowering and already picking plums. So not all bad!

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