A Gardener’s Diary columnist Jocelyne Sewell had to say goodbye to her dog, Molly.
(Jocelyne Sewell - Contributed)

A Gardener’s Diary columnist Jocelyne Sewell had to say goodbye to her dog, Molly. (Jocelyne Sewell - Contributed)

A Gardener’s Diary: An unforgettable summer

Forest fires, COVID-19 pandemic and heat wave made gardening extra challenging

Who will not remember the summer of 2021? Last year, we were hoping that COVID-19 would be gone and now we are in restrictions again.

The heat came at the end of June and kept on going with no rain and forest fires throughout B.C. with evacuation alerts and orders.

The leaves were scorched and the gardens suffered as small fruits baking on the branches like red and black currants and gooseberries. The raspberries dried also attached to the stems. I still managed to harvest a few things from my garden but having to water a lot. Last week, the rain barrels got full after a short but much-needed rain. However, I had to drain all that water on ornamental as the colour was between brown and black smelling of wet ashes.

I could not put that on the vegetables, although what came from the sky was the same as what went in the rain barrels.The large leaves were covered with burnt fir needles and ashes carried in the wind from the fire across the lake. I am still cleaning houseplants as I bring them inside.

The tomatoes didn’t have as much bottom rot this year due possibly to the harvest being very limited with the first flowers dropping and drying in the July heat.

Then came tons of flowers and very tall stems but very few fruits ready to harvest.

There will be lots of green ones hanging on when the cold nights come. Will be ready for green tomato pickles and green tomato cakes.

My best harvest would be the eggplants. I had to look for recipes to use them all.

I’ve always struggled to grow them in the past but they came up as winners for 2021. The other good harvest would be the figs if they have time to ripen.

It took them a long time to get growing in the spring with the cold temperature. I will make them a little greenhouse when the cold nights come.

The LSsU Gold has over two dozen large figs and the other ones have many.

I will be topping off my tomato plants by Sept. 1.

Anything after that would be too small to mature before the frost. As the length of daylight is getting shorter, this year I am cleaning the garden early with the hope for a better season next year.

This is the latest time now to transplant your bearded irises for them to put new roots in the new location and have time to establish themselves before the frost.

There is a possibility that some of them might not bloom the following year after transplant if not done early enough.

Lettuce, spinach, arugula, beets, Swiss chard, kale and a lot of Asian greens thrive in cooler temperatures. Now is the time to plat a few seeds, keep them moist for proper germination and mulch them once the plants are up to conserve soil humidity and suppress weeds.

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We also had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog who we had for seven years. A border/collie cross rescue from the SPCA, she was between five and seven years old when we got her. She loved kids and people but was ready to attack any other dog.

It took time, patience and love to get her to be beautiful and like other dogs.

She never walked in the garden beds and many times sat by my side watching me work. She kept the quails away just as a show.

She will be missed and always in my heart. Goodbye Molly.

For more information: 250-558-4556; jocelynesewell@gmail.com.

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