The sun will rise this morning at 2:59 and set 21 hours and 48 minutes later at 12:47 tomorrow morning. This near the solstice, the day length changes by less than a minute a day, and it is bright twilight all night.
Until the middle of last week we still had red flag warnings and high fire danger, but starting Wednesday we went into a rainy pattern. In fact, we are running at about twice normal rainfall for the month, and we’ve gone from fire weather advisories to local flood advisories virtually overnight. Highs for the next week are expected to be around 70, but with lots of scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoons.
All this rain has been great for the garden. The first domesticated rose has opened. I’m not sure what variety, but it transplants easily, suckers freely, and makes a nice hedge on the east side of the lawn. It is not a rugosa, which I bought it as, but looks more like a spinosissima. Lot of little tiny spines, and a pretty but small double shell-pink flower.
The green zucchini have female flowers, and are actually showing tiny squash. The yellows are a good deal behind them, but they are showing buds. (The black stuff is IRT plastic, which lets solar infrared through to warm the soil, but blocks visible light to stop weeds.) Unfortunately the weeds are enjoying the rain also; I’m going to have to spend a morning trying to get back ahead of them.
The sun rose this morning at 3:12, and will set 21 hours and 24 minutes later tomorrow morning at 12:36. The days are now shortening by about 4 minutes a day, though it still doesn’t get dark. Or very cold, either, though it does usually get down to around 60°F at night.
The warm nights are a bit worrisome not only because it is hard to cool down the house at night but because some diseases cannot mature in mosquitoes subject to low overnight temperatures. Usually ours are low enough that mosquitoes are pests rather than transmitters of disease, but that’s not been the case this June.
It’s been dry, too. We’ve had a mere .43 inch of precipitation, less than a third of normal. (Surprise—this is a desert climate in terms of mean annual precipitation.) Fire danger is high to extreme, and temperatures have actually been lowered somewhat (and breathing made more difficult) by smoke.
The food garden this year consists of 4 zucchini plants (3 of which have already set female flowers in the heat) and two raised beds of herbs: mints, thymes, rosemaries, basil, lavenders, and a few extras like oregano and parsley. Chives are perennial and in bloom. The white iris, the dwarf delphinium and the roses are almost through for the year, but the daylilies have started to bloom and the tall columbines and the delphinium are in bud.
The sun rose at 4:22 this morning, and will set at 11:30 tonight for 19 hours 8 minutes of daylight. At solar noon, at 1:57 pm today, the sun will be just halfway up the sky, at 45°. It still don’t quite get as dark as civil twilight, though that’s only going to be true for about 4 more days. As cloudy as it’s been lately, it actually gets fairly dark.
Yesterday it cleared off and actually got fairly warm – my sister in Sierra Vista, Arizona said it was warmer here than in Sierra Vista! They must have been having a cold wave. I still don’t think we made it to 80 yesterday or in fact on any day in July. At least the garden is getting watered! Today is supposed to be cloudy again.
My tall delphiniums. The two salmon heads are lynchis, and the lattice is 7′ high.
What with the creative writing classes and the rain the garden has been pretty much left to itself, but I did get the beans and the zucchini picked yesterday. I think I’ll take the excess to class today, and if any is left over take it to the food bank.
I swear the delphiniums grow taller every year. This year the base of the flower stalks are mostly above my head and the tips, not yet open, are a good foot above the 7 foot lattice. It wouldn’t surprise me if some reached 9 feet. The lilies are well budded, and the lynchis is blooming. I’m pretty sure the lighter shade is a hybrid with the salmon lynchis, though the flower heads look quite different.
The sun rose at 3:35 this morning and will set at 12:15 tomorrow morning for 20 hours 40 minutes of daylight. We’re now losing about 6 minutes a day, and while the sun is still more than 45° above the horizon at noon, it’s dropping lower by about a tenth of a degree per day. It’s still generally warm by our standards (high 70’s) though we had a couple of days last week that didn’t quite make 70. No heavy rain, but quite a few light showers.
Two bean beds, and you can just see the peas climbing the trellis in the background.
The garden has gone from each bean and strawberry being a cause for celebration to wondering how I can keep up with it without turning vegetarian. I picked a zucchini yesterday that was over a foot long and weighed well over a pound. Thanks to the rapid growth our long days promote, it was still tender and tasty. But it is clear that I have to start checking the squash plants daily—they are already starting to shade out the lettuce in the holes around them. Peas have finally started blooming, and have shot up to the point that I need to raise the pea fence.
The squash is about to shade out the lettuce.
The delphiniums are now topping the 7’ lattice, and the first flowers are open. Still no flowers on the lilies or lynchis, but the buds have appeared on the lynchis, and two varieties of rugosa roses are in bloom. I wish sometimes that the Summer Arts Festival were sometime other than summer, but I’ve signed up again for the creative writing class. I think I’m going to have to find some neighbors who would like produce!