Field of Science

Summertime, and the gardening isn't easy

It's been a hot June so far, and almost too dry.  Highs in upper 80s and low 90s dry out the soil and wilt plants quickly. Any plant that doesn't recover from the afternoon wilts needs watering.  The real problem is when you've planted quite a few new plants it keeps you busy, and uses a lot of water even if rains are adequate.  Last two rainy spells have been just in time, coming after a week or more of dry, and because our rain comes in thunderstorms you can get missed.  This time the area was fortunate. More violent weather passed to the south going east; you don't want to trade rain for hail or wind gusts. About dawn a front of thunderstorms arrived, not too violent, but enough to make a scared black cat clingy.  It dropped at least 1.5 inches so far, enough for a good soil soaking. It takes at least half an inch of water a week to keep a garden going, and if using containers, watch your plants closely because they require more frequent watering. The lawns were getting crunchy (they never get watered) and annoying chiggers have appeared, a few have gotten their blood meal at TPP's expense already.  
In other news the potting mix used for the tomatoes has too much nitrogen in it (didn't notice) and TPP has some magnificent vines, which is not the point. Vines may pay off later, but at the cost of early fruit set. The cherry tomato, an indeterminate type, may need pruning.  Grew a monster vine years ago and had to prune it back.  That 3-4 foot diameter column of vine produced over a quart of cherry tomatoes a day! Eggplant are doing well if flea beetles can be kept at bay. Next problem to watch for are squash vine borers.

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