Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Garden Update - Mid-July 2016

Clockwise from top left: Celebrity tomatoes, green beans, banana peppers, carrot leaves. 

June was a scorcher of a month. The garden seemed doomed as triple digits of dry desert heat rained down on the patio. When that type of heat is endless, our nights don't dip below 75 degrees. The cement stays hot, and my thermometer was reading temperatures above 115 degrees during the day! Needless to say, it seemed like my plants were dying. All the seedlings stayed the exact same size for over two weeks. No growth was happening at all, and I was sure this year would be a bad year for gardening. I was pretty bummed out about it, too. After last year's excitement, I was hoping for even better this year. 

Clockwise from left: Minnesota Midget melon vines climbing the trellis, bell pepper plant, zucchini plant, cherokee purple tomato plant.

I did my research and found out about the magical world of shade cloth. As a newbie gardener, I had no idea what it was. Luckily for me, the internet is a very informative place. I was able to order 40% shade cloth from Amazon, and fashion an ugly little canopy for my veggie patch. I thought it would be a while before the garden woke up and started to grow, but it literally took two days to go nuts. TWO DAYS with 40% shade and heat reduction, and everything was jumpstarted. It's been up for 2 weeks now, and all the seedlings are big plants. Blossoms are forming on all the tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and melon seedlings. The peppers are big and leafy and setting fruit. The beans have been giving me handfuls for a week or two. All the veggie leaves are dark, lush and healthy. The sun comes through the shade cloth but doesn't scorch the plants. Everything is happy.

While the plants are behind on their growth, it looks to me like we may still have a great harvest. It might just be a few weeks later than normal.

Clockwise from top: Minnesota Midget vines under the shade cloth, Minnesota Midget melon baby, seedlings of morning glory, moonflower, cucumber and black eyed susan vine (just in case everything else died.)

++ What are you harvesting right now?

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