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The heat has come, with a blast. From high-70s daytime temperatures and fog taking till noonish to burn off, yesterday and today have been in the high-90s with intensely clear sun. Although not as severe a jump compared with last July’s 113 degrees, our gardens may show some effects in another week or so. In the meantime – or rather, immediately – make sure your garden is deeply watered so existing plantings will have the reservoir of moist soil to keep their roots viable and enable them to overcome whatever stress they’re undergoing. Fortunately, the forecast is for temperatures to be in the mid-to-low 80s for the rest of the week.
I watered my tomatoes yesterday, both in their sunken planting holes and in the 5-gallon buckets between them.
But I also planted 5 more tomato plants – 3 Celebrity and 2 Ace 55 – into the spaces where I’d finally cleared out the last of the peas. I’ve placed a nursery tray on the south side of each plant to hopefully reduce the intensity of the direct sun during this intense heat, since the plants haven’t yet had the time to re-establish their root systems.
I make a point of tucking in the wayward branches into the cages before I water, when the branches are somewhat limp. Then, they’ll bend more readily so I can push and pull them under the rungs with minimal breakage. If I wait until after I water the plants, the branches become rigid so are not so easily manipulated without breaking.
I have purposely pruned the cherry-type tomato branches that have grown taller than the double-stack cages. This will foster new growth from existing nodes further down in the plant, so harvesting will be within easy reach. Last year, I’d let the plants grow as tall as they wanted, which meant they bent over and grew down outside the cage, so to harvest I had to reach through the new growth to fruit in the inner cage. It was difficult to see which were ripe because of all the shading. We’ll see whether this new method works better.
First Apricots; Peaches & Plums Yet to Come
Yum! I was happily relieved that only a few of the ripening apricots had been nibbled, since I just now got around to wrapping bunches of fruit with the netting.
Because my trees have a thick layer of mulch at their bases, I harvest by gently shaking the branches. Whichever fruits fall are ripe. They fall onto the mulch so don’t get damaged.
Peach and plum fruits have been wrapped with netting.
The last artichokes that I hadn’t harvested before they were too mature for eating, I now let them mature fully into decorative blossoms and even beyond so I can use them at workshops to show where the seeds reside – at the very outer edge of the completely dried blossom.
Many of the carrots are sending up their bloom stalks, which I allow to mature to attract beneficial insects and go to seed.
I keep watering the carrot bed in the hopes of getting the roots to continue being fully hydrated and sweet so I can continue eating them. Once the hot weather is unrelenting, they’ll become too “turpentiney” to enjoy.
Color In The Garden
Irises are done and getting trimmed back, and nasturtiums are dying back but left in place as mulch. Alstroemerias, begonias, bougainvilleas, geraniums, iochroma, roses, salvias and Verbena bonariensis are fully in color. Succulents are colored up and blooming; repotting them results in lots of offshoots to root and give away.
For More Garden To-Dos
See June tasks.