Heat's Hard to Beat


Today is another delivery day. This means early to rise, even if early to bed did not apply. As I came down to get that first coffee, I notice the temperature outside is still over 70 degrees. This is only one night of many that have maintained what could have been a daytime temperature during many a summer past.

What this has done is make the growing season one of the most phenomenal for growing most vegetables I have ever experienced. Before this week is over, watermelons will be acceptably ready. Muskmelons will have to come off from the vines. Artichokes which normally take 160 days to make blossoms only took 124. Peppers, which usually aren’t ready before the second week of August have been ready since the second week of July. It has truly been amazing.

One of the challenges of warmer than normal temperatures is keeping corn coming in a smooth non-interupted or bunched-up fashion. Heat generally creates a bunching effect. Next week there will be two varieties of corn ready at one time. The one is a 68 day corn and the other is an 82 day! One might ask how this can happen? One reason is the colder the soil the slower the seed germinates. Also Corn is is a ‘growing degree day’ driven crop. So it needs a certain amount of heat to produce. However, it seems that when the heat is out of the average  especially on the high side it affects the maturity making it come more rapidly than it would otherwise. So next week will be a big corn week. I pray I can keep it coming until frost. I will plant some next week again.

The only difficulty has been the in the cole crop and lettuce arenas. Both of these enjoy just warm days and cool nights. Cool nights being in the 50’s. I lost most of the first broccoli, and likely will loose a fair amount of cauliflower. The days are just too hot for it to produce good tight heads. The lettuce has a tendency to bolt, producing a seed stalk and becoming offensively bitter. To overcome that, I just start harvesting it when it is still very young.

The exciting thing about agriculture is this variability in crop need. It keeps on on their toes to adjust to the plants need. It will be great time seeing how this whole season plays out.