Extreme heat has settled in for the long haul, it appears. The afternoons are a struggle, just to feel normal after being outside for any amount of time. I think the stress is equally evident in the garden as on the gardeners. I’m struggling to determine whether it cost-effective to continue watering plants with little or no production. My jalapenos and other peppers are small and sparse and the plants require lots of water. I can buy a bag of fat, large jalapenos at the farmer’s market for $4.00. I pulled up a couple of shishito pepper plants this morning, because they weren’t thriving. The cucumbers are showing signs of prolonged stress and production has nearly stopped. I still have a watermelon on the vine, but it is sucking up water as well.
The 3 tomato plants left over from Spring, that were showing new growth and trying to flower, are looking pretty bad, despite daily watering. I think I might pull these up as well, and focus on the plants I’m babying for Fall.
The tomato plants I transplanted a couple of weeks ago have nearly doubled in size. They remain in their gallon pots, where I can control the water better than in the raised beds, which drain too well for extreme heat and drought. I have been keeping the soil moist, giving them a drink of compost tea every 3 days, top dressing with worm castings, and giving them a tiny bit of 8-2-4 once a week. So far so good. It’s almost like having pets.
It’s time for my “What to Plant in August” post, and looking at my lists, I can’t imagine another month of this heat. However, the list is long and, Fall is right around the corner. I think I’ll amend and turn my soil in the wee hours of the morning Saturday and Sunday, and hold off planting anything for Fall until the second half of the month. I do long for lazy Fall weekend mornings drinking coffee in the abundant garden again.
There is good garden news however, the citrus will be ripening soon, and I have Meyer Lemons, Key Limes and Satsuma Oranges to look forward to!