It’s Cook’en Under The Plastic That’s Covering My Corn

It’s cook’en under the plastic that’s covering my corn patch. Hot and humid, like the tropics. It made me realize I could start bush beans under a covered hoop tunnel too, so I did. Then I realized I’d have the earliest bean crop in the county, and my son would have none, so I planted another row 🙂

I’ve planted beans early before, under plastic that was laying on the ground, but they stopped growing when I took the plastic off because it was too cold for them. These covered tunnels will allow me to grow the beans until the weather warms up. Some of the cantaloupe and honeydew that I planted indoors on January 1st came up on the 4th. The seed packets said 7-10 days germination, but a heated mat cut the time in half. All that’s left to plant is tomatoes, peppers and winter squash 🙂 This coming from a gardener that wasn’t going to start early this year :).

I got another stint of puppy babysitting in the garden. She likes to pull out the hollyhock sticks that I use to hold down the bird netting, and chew them up. She’s only ten weeks old and has already gone for my juggler :). I got to pick spinach by the handful again as she was chewing the leaves off an overwintered beet. I came so close to pulling the spinach out in the winter because it looked so bad, but instead I just put a wire tunnel over it. It stayed dormant until the weather warmed and now it’s a thick hedge that needs picking once a week. Sometimes overwintering is a game of patience. The chard is now growing so fast that I can’t keep the lids on the mini greenhouses, so I took them off. By the end of the day they had wilted. I don’t know if they needed additional UV acclimation or if they were just used to the high humidity. I’ll find out today.

It’s a good time of year to cover your mounds with clear plastic. If you can get your ground warm enough your transplants won’t have to stop growing when they hit the garden. You can see the difference in warm soil verses cool soil by watching the plants. If they go dormant, and stop growing, the leaves lose their sheen, and the plants don’t stretch out, but hunker down. This state of not growing is quickly replaced with dying, because the plant roots can’t fight off all the adverse soil microbes, and become susceptible to disease. Some plants never fully recover, so getting cloches on them quickly is advised. The mini greenhouses that I took off my chard have gone on my mounds, and the ground under them was noticeably warmer by the end of the day. Even overcast days warm their interior. The wilted chard bounced back overnight so UV acclimation wasn’t the problem. I think they had gotten spoiled by the high humidity :).

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