The Heat Is On!

Hot Days

By: Jannie Vaught


When the temperatures soar to 101 and above the possibility of garden plant loss is high!

It takes a dedicated garden nerd to be up with the sunrise and start watering and putting up shade cloth. With the intense sunshine the plants wilt in a hurry and if they what I call “wilt down hard”, which is the outer tips of the leaves are brown and even some of the leaves are dead and they don’t revive in the morning even after watering they are probably done for the season. So far the squash has had the worst of it. The tomatoes and peppers and carrots that are finishing are hanging in there. The upside is the plums are finishing and we are picking. The figs are needing daily soaking and any young trees are essential to put a slow soak hose on them so they establish and don’t shock. These are the times when our preparation work pays off. The rainwater is being used carefully, the straw mulch is down and keeping the water in the soil and the temperatures cooler. Add more straw mulch as needed.

For those of us who have peaches, they are heavy with fruit and I have tinned 3 times now and have wooden stake props under the heavy limbs to keep them from breaking as the fruit gains in weight. I have 2 La Feliciana peach variety, they are a hardy heavy producing tree that is easy to prune into a bowl and has a delicious deep colored fruit. The pomegranate tree is heavy with good sized fruit already but again at this phase of production, it needs water and straw mulch. These mid story trees are the second layer of a good food forest. Providing fruit and very important shade for poultry, wild birds and us. The pecan, oak and deciduous trees that are taller are the top story and these are your very essential shade and root systems that hold abundant water in your homestead. They are called farmer trees and include Hackberry, Ash, Mimosa, any native nut trees. Essentially trees that produce food for stock or wildlife. Then there are the fruit trees. The formula is three fruit trees for every 1 farmer tree. This gives you a balance of producing food trees to native trees. So everyone gets a good meal. The butterflies have been busy and have successfully found my dill weed, and the caterpillars for angel wing are thick in the ferns of the fennel herb, where they will hide under the dense foliage in the heat to keep cool and protected. And have you noticed if you put out an oscillating sprinkler the Redbirds, Sparrows, and Hummingbirds are happily taking their showers?

Everyone likes some water in the heat. Even though we are having high heat temperatures remember to drink enough water when outside. Be wise when using that water hose inside and out, and protect your head with a hat or scarf.

We are in the thick of it now and we need to be water wise so we have water to use through the summer.

Outgrowing green and keeping it all cool with Jannie