The Summer Heat Is Upon Us

Thumbnail image of Bob Bauer
Bob Bauer
May 19, 2018 (Last Updated: ) | Reading Time: 2 minutes

May 19, 2018

The summer heat is upon us. The crops that sustained our forefathers need the warmth to grow. Corn, beans, and squash can be cured in the field, and don't require processing in order to last all winter. Cucumbers can be pickled. Sunflower seeds, peanuts and potatoes are long lasting in storage also. Keeping an adequate supply of water for the summer crops used to be a challenge. Today we all just drag a hose around..

We also mulch the ground because it's good for it. Happy, healthy, vibrantly alive soil produces actively engaged plant life that wards off diseases and pests. I've started my second circle of mulch around my hills. The first 8" wide band is made up of coarse compost about 2" thick. This next circle consists of moldy hay about 4" thick and a foot wide. The soil under my mulches should stay cool and moist through the growing season..

May 21, 2018

The tips of the asparagus spears are starting to open before they reach 10" long, and when you break them off at the ground some of the stalks are hollow. I think it's time to end the harvest and let all the spears grow into ferns. The textbook method of ending the harvest is when more than half the spears come out of the ground measuring a half inch diameter or less. I've never waited that long. I guess after having asparagus every night for six weeks I'm willing to forgo a few handfuls in order to get a bountiful harvest next spring. It seems to be working. The artichokes have already taken up the slack with an incredible amount of output..

I guess since we didn't get a fall harvest the plants are producing more abundantly than usual for spring. They are on the breakfast menu now because there are too many for dinners. The beets will soon be in abundance too. I planted two 8' rows and they are about an inch in diameter. If I keep the soil moist beets will be coming out our ears in a few days..

May 22, 2018

All the cold frames have been removed from my melon, cucumber and squash hills. It seems that when the leaves get to a certain size they need a slight breeze to keep them cool. None of the plants were wilting in the afternoon, but the leaves began to lose their sheen. The wind can blow them over now so the pill bugs can get at the leaves. The leaves and stems are now covered in fine hairs to help prevent them getting eaten..

Pill bugs are supposed to prefer decaying matter, so they should enjoy all the compost, mulch and hay I've scattered about, and leave the plants alone. Back in my beginning gardening adventures sow bugs and pill bugs were considered a part of gardenings beneficial army of decomposers, like earthworms and night crawlers, rarely damaging living plants. Now they are becoming associated with slugs and snails as primary garden pests..

More from Efundies