Heat taking toll on crops and gardens

by Staff
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With temperatures in the one hundreds to high nineties for the last few weeks and temperatures expected to stay high without rain, crops and gardens are suffering. Cotton loves this weather, but is starting to show signs of stress. The later planting of corn is tassling out and needs rain for kernel formation.  No rain is predicted for the next week and most of the corn crop will be lost unless irrigation is being used.   Similar results are seen with the soybean crop.  Soybeans that irrigation reaches are over a foot tall; those in the same field not reached by irrigation are withering and dying.  I couldn’t resist riding my tractor back later and getting a picture of the sunset behind the irrigation booms.  The 104-degree down wind coming through the spraying water felt so good.  I sat for the longest enjoying the breeze until the mosquitoes brought me back to reality.


I’ve been watering from the time I come home from work until dark each day.  Two of three native azaleas in one of my beds have dried up despite mulching and watering.  The third looking great, is getting shaded about an hour before the other two. Time not watering is spent hauling wood chips from several loads left by Sheffield Power for me and mulching.

I finally got my heirloom tomatoes out in the garden and gave away the excess plants. I kept waiting for the ninety degree temps to moderate, but it was past time to have them in the ground as they were over two feet tall and burning up in the greenhouse.   I dug a deep hole, and place water retention crystals derived from a plant source in the bottom of the hole and sprinkled some Epsom salts and fertilizer and back filled to a level an inch below the surrounding soil.  I have more of the Cherokee Purple tomatoes this year.  They seemed to be a favorite of my give aways.   Before mulching I put newspaper down around my plants and mulched heavily.  The tomatoes responded by doubling in size and putting out some nice tomatoes.  I received similar results after mulching my squash plants.  This weekend I plan to finish mulching. After one day in the lower nineties, temperatures were back in the hundreds.


The best favor you can do for your plants and shrubs in this kind of weather is mulching.  An example of how much mulching helps is these pictures of Nana coreopsis.  All were planted at the same time.  One section was mulched right away and the other section wasn’t mulched until after the pictures were taken a couple of weeks after planting.






Some of my re-blooming iris, which normally blooms in September to October, is blooming early this year.





Hummingbirds are starting to hit the feeders now that the flower production is waning.  It’s a good time to put up feeders.  Don’t use the red dyestuff for feeding.  It’s not good for hummers.  Use one part sugar and four parts hot to boiling water.   Example one-fourth cup sugar and one cup water let cool and fill your feeders.  Change out every three or four days with clean sugar water and feeder.  I use a 10% bleach solution for soaking and cleaning my feeders.   Rinse very well before refilling.

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