By Connie Nelson

In my garden, powdery mildew has taken a powder. I haven't seen a single slug. And my tomatoes have yet to develop blight. I'm not chalking this up to my skills as a gardener, but to our cool, dry weather this summer.

From my vantage point, the unseasonably cool, unusually dry weather has made gardening a bit easier. It's offered me a break from many of the pests and diseases that typically plague my garden. I have had to haul out the hoses and make the rounds with watering cans. But I'd take that over hand-picking aphids and trying to get slugs deadly drunk on beer.

And then came August. In the first 20 days of this month, we've had 5.79 inches of rain in the Twin Cities. That's more rain than we got in May, June and July combined. The forecast calls for the skies to clear and the temperatures to climb. We might even get our summer back. What's left of it, anyway.

So what does that mean for our gardens? I'm keeping close watch over my tomatoes, those disease mongers. I'm checking my phlox for mildew. And I've got my boxing gloves -- and lids full of beer -- at the ready in case those nasty slugs show up.

How's your garden fared so far this summer? What pests have been absent or abundant? And what are you watching warily for?