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Plants in the heat and possibly drought?

How are your plants doing? Up here, we've had this pattern of a week or so of rainy and moist cool weather, followed by a couple of days of really hot (80°) sun. And in the sunny days, the plants go nuts: I swear my winter squash doubled the surface area of their leaves in one day! (Also, too, weeds, and all my greens bolted. I'm better at planting than eating...)

Sorry if I seem to boast -- "rain," "80° heat, forsooth" -- but those have been the conditions up here.

Anyhow, as long-time readers know, I'm a big sheet mulch fan (see Occupy the garden, and here, here, and here).

I've gotten reader reports in mail, however, that sheet-mulched plants in the 100°, droughty areas are holding up fine. How are your plants holding up?

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Submitted by Lex on

It's been hot here, but good plant growing weather with highs in the 80's and night time lows down to the low 60's. We do go stretches of days without rain, but i water because A. water's pretty much free for me and B. my intensive gardening style means that a very small amount of water goes a very long way.

Close planting has filled out so that i basically don't see weeds because not enough light hits the soil for weeds to grow.

Aside from produce i harvested some time ago from the spring crop under the low tunnel, i've got broccoli ready for harvest and succession planted it well enough this year that it will be producing main heads with regularity but not a glut for what looks like the rest of the summer. Beans and cukes are ripening. I generally find bell peppers not worth their production but planted anyway and this year looks like i got it right and will be a bumper crop of 30+ peppers/plant of which there are seven.

Basil's already wanting to flower, so i'll pesto those plants and seed some more to time better with the main tomato crop, much of which is now fruit laden and ripening. If nothing goes wrong, i'm going to be buried in tomatoes this year. I think it's 16 plants and i usually see 20+ pounds/plant. This year looks better than average. (We haven't finished last year's canned tomatoes and sauce.)

Early corn is flowering. Miraculously, cauliflower looks good too (i'm horrible at cauliflower). It's about time to plant the late season crops in the spots i left open, and i might have timed things right this year so that the two low tunnel beds will be cleared for planting winter crops and covering them.

My 10x10 in ground extension to the garden area is doing alright. It looks like long ago someone dumped ash there, which should work out with having planted it to potatoes (2, 10' rows), onions and acorn squash. The pole beans i put in there along one edge are struggling, but i may actually have to cure/store potatoes and onions this year.

Bugs are the only problem, though not so bad that regular attention isn't keeping them in check. I should institute further procedures for an IPM program, it's just rather difficult while working minimum 60 hr weeks. (Only plus being that i work split shifts which allows me to be home in the hottest part of the day where an extra, light watering does tremendous good.)

I still haven't produced the 4th of July tomato, but i'm getting closer ... which means i just have more to learn and skills/infrastructure to improve.

jerztomato's picture
Submitted by jerztomato on

I took off the frost cloth from my tomatoes yesterday. The sun is finally out! Summer really doesn't start in the Seattle area until July 5.

NWLuna's picture
Submitted by NWLuna on

in Seattle. Rained yesterday, and some the day before. Sprinkled before that.

Today was sunny, which I hate on the 4th because the yahoos are out in numbers, sounding like a small war.

Tomorrow and next few days it will be hot here -- mid to upper 70s and OMG 88 predicted on Sunday (must get out in the mountains where it's cooler then).

Per one of our university meteorologists, there is a large weather anomaly which has been keeping the Pacific NW cool and most of the rest of the country hot lately.

The raspberries and pie cherries in my yard are ripening nicely now.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

mornings and evenings in the 60s, days in the 70s. Once a week or so, the temperature gets into the 80s in the more deserty parts of town. But LA has a lot of different micro-climates, so whatever the recorded temperature is, it's not affecting the whole city.*

So about the plants. No tomatoes this year. Last summer was also kind of non-existent, and the tomatoes took forever to ripen. It was October when I finally gave up and tore them out to use the pots for other things. Meanwhile, the peaches are still tiny and rock-hard. The sea holly has had oodles of buds for weeks now, but they just won't open, and same with most of the succulents. Only the four o'clocks are in full bloom, and some oranges are ripening. Big whoop, huh?

* btw, let me make it clear to the weather gods that I am NOT complaining. This is much better -- comfort-wise -- than our former blast-furnace summer weather, so please don't make it super hot to make me shut up. It won't work anyway.