Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Getting the Garden Ready for the Heat

I've been very busy recently. Not all of it has been in the garden, but some of it has. Yesterday I got the cucumber soil blocks planted. I have 3 Armenian and 7 Diamant blocks. I also got the trellis for them put up. I have it in a really weird spot. It is against the fence in front of a path. I'm using the path end to give me more space. It is in the middle path just past the upside down trash can. OK so you can't really see it much. But trust me it is there.

As to why I have a trash can in my garden, I put the sprinkler on it when I water the garden. That way any tall foliage (like the peas) doesn't block the water. I water with an old oscillating fan sprinkler. I found out this year that it is now partially stuck. If I have it on a full sweep it gets stuck all the way to the right. Sigh. I did find I could make it not quite sweep as far and still get all but one little spot in the garden. So I hand watered that spot.

Our weather has been abnomally dry this year. In the last four weeks I think we have had just over an inch of rain. That is it. Usually we get an inch of rain a week in the spring. I've had to water three times already. Before I always hand watered. I was going to do it again, but I don't get my self sown plants that way. They are scattered willy nilly all over the garden. My cilantro was bitter last time I picked it from lack of water. So now the whole garden got wet. I hope the plants start growing again. Some of the plants were really slowing down in growth.

After the garden got a good drink it was time to mulch everything. We have a hot dry spell predicted so I have to conserve that water. I mulched the tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos. I left the middle of their beds unmulched since there are carrots germinating there. As I was mulching I noticed the first pepper bloom opened. Whoohoo!

I wanted to mulch the whole three sister's bed, but it needed to be hilled up first. The corn is anywhere from three inches high to a foot high. Afterward hilling it was much shorter. I just pulled out the little ones that obviously weren't going to grow. They would have been buried anyway. I'll put a stake in their place for the beans to grow up.

Then I mulched the low spots and the top of the hills. I left the sides unmulched because I need to plant the beans there. I'll mulch that part when the beans are well up. I think I should be planting the beans now, but I'm not really sure. The corn seems so small at about 6". Most suggestions are to wait until your corn is 6-12" tall, then hill, then plant. So I probably ought to plant about now. I'll think about it and maybe do it within the next couple of days.

I didn't do the squash hills yet. I'll do those after the spinach is out of the ground. It should bolt with the coming hot weather. So I'll pull it out when it starts, then get those hills in. The greens didn't get mulched either, but that is because they were mulched earlier. Their ground didn't need to get warmed up.

Then it was on to the perennial bed. The weeds were starting to take over. I weeded them and gave them a good mulching. I completed one side of the perennial bed along the fence and need to do the other another day. The mulch I'm using is my compost from last year. It hadn't quite decomposed enough for me to want to mix it directly in the soil. Oak leaves really take a bit to break down if they haven't been shredded beforehand and they hadn't. So there was a lot of half decomposed leaves in the mix, but it makes a great mulch.

I started to put up the supports for my container tomatoes, but I melted in the heat before I finished. It was only 80°F (27°C), but I just can't take the heat. I hope it isn't too hot tomorrow morning to get that done. I'm such a wimp in the sun, but I know enough to go inside when I start getting dizzy. I want to finish, but the plants will just have to wait. If my post seems disjointed today it is because it is brain fries along with the rest of me.

Oh and I almost forgot. My comfrey was in bloom. So I figured it must be time to cut it all down. I have three plants that I put in last year in the hopes of making more of my own mulch. This was the first time that it got cut. I used this batch to mulch my potted tomaotes.


  1. I sympathise, Daphne! heat and humidity totally wipe me out to the point of passing out. I can't believe your comfrey's already in bloom! Mine's just getting a healthy leaf stand now. Let's just hope for some nice cool weather before summer's heat and humidity take their inevitable toll!

  2. So beautiful! Is this in your front yard? I've noticed this is quite a popular trend now in some neighborhoods.

  3. Your garden over view is looking very nice. I hear you on the weeding, my perennial beds are looking pretty bad right now. I have so much on the go right now I am lucky if I can cut the lawn before it's 6" high.

  4. Your garden is looking quite lovely.

    Sure, throw your pretty (big) (blooming) peppers in my face!

  5. our friend Ben, I always wish for what our average temperatures should be. I can handle that. It would never get into the nineties. Luckily after three days of hot weather it will be back to normal.

    A Girl & Her Garden, no it is in my side yard (a little sticks into the front yard), but it is in full view of anyone walking by. It was put here 18 years ago. If I had to do it over, I would move it more to the front because part of the garden is shaded for a good part of the day and parts never get sun. The funny thing is that when I moved in 18 years ago I would say about half the veggie gardens in the neighborhood were in the front yard. Our back yards here tend to be woods, so you can't grow veggies there without cutting the forest down. The front yards get a lot more sun.

    Dan, I still have a lot to go. I think I'm going to wait until it cools down though. It is supposed to get to 90 today. I'm not weeding in the hot sun again.

    Annie's Granny, thanks. And the peppers are just payback. I need one thing I can say I'm doing better than you are. You have such a lovely garden. And your harvest tally is higher than mine too!

  6. Hi Daphne, I was going to ask what the mulch was, it looked like compost. Do you mulch for moisture retention? We added straw after we planted this year, we should have spread the straw then planted the tomatoes. The strawberries we just have to work around them. I like to mulch after the leaves have been chopped up in the fall. They go right onto the beds, then bags of Black Kow and soil conditioner. Veggies are a lot more work than flower gardens! Do try and wear a big hat when in the heat, it really helps. :-)

  7. You could never tell by looking at your garden that you are hurting for rain. Everything looks great!

  8. I always love it when you post shots of your garden- it's looking good. I'm the same with the heat. Here in Portland when it's 80 it feels a lot hotter. Funny, when I'm in Plano, TX visiting my sister, I can stay outside all day! And in 100 degree heat!

  9. Your garden looks beautiful! I believe we have some of your rain - we have had record-breaking rains - plus late frosts - that have really been tough on the spring growing season here. I'm jealous of how well your garden is growing!

  10. You have a beautiful garden, I love your pathways, and it looks like you have a really good thing going on there.

  11. Frances, I'm mulching for two reasons. The first is that usually I mix the compost into the top few inches of soil when I spread it. This year it still had a lot of carbon not broken down. I figured I would just add it to the surface so it doesn't take all the nitrogen from the plants. The rain and the worms will get those nutrients and humus in there. The second is moisture retention. I don't usually need this mind you. We live in a very wet area of the country. We usually get enough rain, but so far this year we aren't getting it. So I'm thinking the mulch will help a lot. I also think bare soil is a terrible thing if you can prevent it. My soil is clay and cracks when it dries out, then the rains that come don't sink in. A mulch keeps that from happening.

    Stacy, well I did just water it. House water is never as good a rain water for the garden, but it helps.

    DirtDigger, oh Texas. I think I would die in the heat there.

    Melinda, Thanks. I do hope our rains start up again. At this point we need at least a couple of inches to make it all wet like it ought to be.

    newlyweds, Thanks.