Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I'm Wilting And So Is The Garden

It’s hot. We are in day 23 of a above 100 degree streak. This breaks the record set in 1998 which by the way I remember well as I was pregnant with Maggie that summer, yep – that was a hot summer! We have had 36 days so far this year of temperatures over 100, but the 23 days are in a row. Our average temperature for the month of June also set a record. Our low nighttime temperatures hover near 80 degrees, so night does not bring relief.  We are also very short on rain – more than 11 inches low since January and a drought two years ago combined with low rainfall for 2010 and this year is increasing the effect. These things greatly affect my garden (and me!)

Because of the heat and lack of rain we are required to conserve water by not watering between noon and 10 pm. We are watering in the morning still, but the plants are struggling to produce fruit because we cannot give them any relief from the heat of the afternoon. I very carefully choose plants that do well in high temperatures and humidity so the garden is surviving, but producing very little food.

Only one tomato plant has produced any tomatoes (FRitW’s Homely Homer) and it is beginning to fruit again. All of the other plants are tall, green, very leafy, and healthy and even have blooms, but the blooms never become fruit. Any suggestions? We’ve never had this problem before – usually I cannot keep up with the tomato harvest. My Serrano and Jalapeno peppers are really starting to produce, but I have no tomatoes to go with them!

My green beans are drying up, but the Black-Eyed peas are thriving. This is my first year growing them, so I am still trying to find the correct time to pick – late enough that they have fully formed peas, but before they are only good for seed. This bumble bee was visiting each flower on the pea vines and he completely ignored me as I snapped several shots of him. However, on the plant right next to this one sat a Red Wasp. He was quite protective and stayed on his flower for more than 15 minutes. I attempted to take his photo several times, but each time I turned the camera toward him, he turned toward me. Having been stung by a red wasp and not desiring to repeat that, I decided you didn’t need to see his photo after all!

I confess that I have not spent much time in the garden myself and the weeds are taking over where there is no mulch. It is hard to find a cool time to get out there and work!