By Jannie Vaught
Our dry soil finally received some much-needed rain which did liven up the gardens, again the heat is on the way and back to the controlled watering. Something I use for dry heat times is growing in semi-shade and full shade. Here are some plants that will thrive in semi-shade. Basil, Cherry tomatoes, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, eggplant (will be smaller), and peas also bush variety of green beans, cilantro, and kale. Arugula will be grown in either sun or partial shade but it is water-loving. Many of these plants will Bolt when it gets continuously hot as they are finishing their reproduction cycle and want to produce seeds for the next year. They will get tough leaves and send up a tall center shoot and flower they will also be bitter to taste. Many of these will produce but will often take longer and be small. If you have large trees or shady places in your gardening area you can use these, especially with raised beds, and containers. I find the root systems under trees will pull water and nutrients from in-ground garden growing areas so the raised bed or old water tanks work well for these locations. In full shade areas, I have grown lettuce, green onions, ginger, turmeric, and even some radishes with varying success. Full sun is corn, heritage tomatoes, okra, potatoes, hot peppers, and sweet potatoes. Of course flowers, sunflowers, zinnias, and cosmos. Some squash will produce in either area but summer squash loves the sun. I have a problem with vine borers and have found no way to get a harvest in spring planting.
Having a long growing season in our zone 8a I plant squash the second week of July and have had good winter and summer squash production. The vine borers are out of their cycle then. Learning what to plant and where to plant is one of those “learn by experience” requirements, we make mistakes and lose things and we also have those times when everything lines up just right and it works. You probably have your own success list for this topic and even techniques for times of drought. Let’s talk about peppers, I so enjoy growing peppers. The growing time for peppers is mid-March through mid-July. When the soil is 70 degrees. They need at least 6 hours of sunlight. and all varieties from sweet banana, bell Peppers, hot cayenne, and ghost peppers love to grow and produce abundantly even into the fall. Start them inside when you start your tomatoes. give them some time to harden off before planting outside and make sure you give them good soil and space them 1 ½ foot apart in a slight indention to hold water like a well. They are best fed and watered on a regular schedule. they will wilt down in heat by the afternoon, if they are still wilted down in the morning you need more water.
Three primary ways to prune for more production. Prune off bottom leaves and branches to prevent any fungal or mildew disease from water soil splash, remove any side shoots, and early on remove the top and early flowers to force stronger branches and more flowering. I grow peppers in containers, between tomato plants, in-ground in spaced rows, and in raised beds. Where ever I have a bare spot I plant a pepper.
We need more rain and moisture at this time. Use good practices for water and weeding, and use mulch and shade cloth as necessary you never know what nature has ahead of us.
Growing Green With Jannie