July garden update

My garden's got that jungle look- 

which is always hard for me to imagine in April, staring down seemingly huge empty beds. (And here's the garden just a few weeks ago- hard to believe!)

The tomatoes love the trellises I built, though I wish I had kept up with the tying a bit more, now it's too late. The branches are thick and brittle, heavy with fruit. So I'm letting them sprawl and promising to keep up with tomato training next year. 

For weeks and weeks, it was so hot and dry here. Despite my daily watering, the plants all had that stressed and pinched look. Even the big oak trees in my yard had dry, curled leaves. Then all of a sudden, about a week or so ago, it started raining. We've been getting rain almost daily, good big thunderstorms that fill the rain barrels in minutes. I'm so glad the rain has returned. Now I visit the garden daily, but just to putter and harvest. Here's my haul  from this morning. 

From the top left- White Icicle radish, Costata Romanesca Zucchini, jalepenos, a zinnia, Swallow Eggplants, various tomatoes, Shisito peppers (the plant is from my friend Gin and I'm psyched to try this recipe tonight), and various cherry tomatoes. 

AND, even the mushroom logs are showing their exuberance over the rainfall. 

These are luminous Golden Oyster Mushrooms.

And my first-ever shitake:

So hooray for rain!

Rather than declaring a gardening season a success or failure, I'm realizing that every year brings a different crop bounty to my garden, and something else that struggles. My onions were terrible this year, stunted and barely worth harvesting, and I didn't plant nearly enough beans. My cucumbers (which I have always though of as a carefree crop) were beset by cucumber beetles and the accompanying diseases.

Happily though, it's an eggplant year, and the promise of a bounteous eggplant harvest is exciting.

Also, the tomatoes are just getting ready to explode with ripe fruit. While I'm not sure how I ended up with 5 cherry tomato plants (since I was only aiming for 1), I think it will be a good tomato year too. My new garden has been more successful that I had hoped or planned and I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year brings.