With our air temperatures frightening to be over 100 for the rest of the week, is there anything we can do in the garden instead of just escaping inside? Yes – but be selective both in the preservation of your own energy, and in the amount and time of its irrigation.
My garden faces northeast, and the sun goes over the hill at 5pm (4pm in the non-sunny months), so I’m in the garden then. After years of enjoying being in the bright sun and working as many hours as possible in the garden, I only spend an hour or two in this time of day in indirect light. Still sweating, but does not need to wear sunglasses, a hat and long sleeves!
If you think you should water your garden often, hoping to rid it of the heat, think about your soil type – if it doesn’t drain well, the potential for phytophthora is higher, a soil pathogen that thrives in warm, moist soils that don’t drain well.
My garden slope – based on the decomposed granite with 75 years of manure and compost built in – doesn’t have this problem, but I’m still concerned about the timing of my watering depending on a combination of my fine assumptions and watching the plants and the soil, and the readings of my probe soil moisture 9 from Home Depot. Before watering each bed or fruit tree, I see what the probe 9″ records – sometimes it is a foot or two different– so I confidently water where it is needed, and not where it is not.
Tomatoes and other large plants in loamy clay soils use about an inch of water in three days of hot, dry weather. Rinse the underside of the leaves with water to deter spider mites.
At the end of a hot, dry day, a certain wilting of the foliage is expected, but wilting until the next morning indicates the immediate need to deeply water the roots and gently water the foliage.
Once a week, water and fertilize the melons deeply to get large, juicy, fleshy fruits. But, about a week before they ripen, they stop watering so that their sugars concentrate. This also applies to the fruits of trees.
The foliage of their garlic and onion bulbs should have dried naturally. If this is not the matter, fold the foliage to the ground to encourage the bulbs to form the dry outer layers necessary for prolonged storage and stop watering. A month after, during harvesting, avoid squeezing the bulbs by treating them in simple layers on slats or sieves in a dry, shaded and well ventilated place. Before cutting the foliage or grouping and tying the bulbs, make sure that the necks of the bulbs are completely dry (crispy and papillated).
Store the well-dried onions in a shaded, cool, dry and well-ventilated place. Check them regularly and eat those that show signs of deterioration. Thick-necked onion varieties are more prone to spoilage, as they dry more slowly and less completely than fine-necked varieties, so eat them first.
When I started gardening myself – when we lived in Davis on an old tomato soil- I tried to grow everything we ate. What a beautiful adventure, figuring out what each type of plant needed, pushing the boundaries of the calendar at both ends, and proudly explaining at dinner each evening what items came from our own garden. I still do it when I say, but I no longer grow corn, since even short-term varieties take up too much space in the garden compared to other summer vegetables such as pumpkin and cucumbers, tomatoes and beans, which give much more for a much longer harvest.
However, if you grow corn, be sure to make the last sowing soon, because subsequent PLANTINGS are likely to have coal problems (those large, gray and black mushroom rolls instead of grains) when harvested in September. On the other hand, you may want to inoculate your corn with the fungus—it’s a delicacy in Southwestern and Mexican cuisine called huitlacoche!
Removing the suckers that form at the base of the corn follow will not increase (or even decrease) yields. The additional leaf area of the suckers increases photosynthesis, which provides more nutrition to the developing ears. However, remove the ears that form on the suckers, as this will remove energy from the normal main ears.