Friday, July 16, 2010

Well, summer is enveloping us with her heat isn't she? This humidity and heat might be exhausting and obnoxious for most of you but your summer vegetables and herbs are LOVING THIS!!

Tomatoes, eggplant, okra, peppers and corn are the most popular warm season vegetables we grow around here. These plants all need warmth to a) germinate from seed and b) flower and, therefore, fruit. Remember that tomatoes especially have larger root systems and need to have the soil kept at a fairly even temperature (not mention keeping the soil evenly moist). This means that you need to use mulch. This can be newspaper (useful if ugly), compost (the best but more expensive option) maybe even straw (not hay). Remember to keep the watering less frequent and deeper. Don't water daily for 1 minute. Water twice a week for 10 minutes. (this is just an example- you have to water each plant according to its needs, the weather and the type of bed it is in, light exposure, etc)
Use some fertilizer. Really, even you organic gardeners need to do this! Tomato-tone by Espoma is an awesome fertilizer that helps with soil bacteria (adds BT to the soil to help prevent the most common soil diseases) and is organic! I love this stuff.
Even this though may not help my tomatoes this year.... *sigh*. As an avid vegetable gardener, I've come to recognize that there are ON year and OFF years. This year is an OFF year for me. Last year, with all the rain, was totally an ON year. Go figure! Don't be so hard on yourself if some of your vegetables have gone kaput this year. My eggplant are cookin' though, as are my squash (swim swim, I'm up to my neck in squash)!

As for your herbs, the heat-loving Mediterranean type should be flourishing. These include basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary. Keep these pinched back to prevent flowering. Once they've gone to flower (called bolting or going to seed), the taste will change and the leaves will grow smaller. All of the energy is being taken from leaf growth to flower/ seed production. The taste will sometimes get bitter, whangy or just 'off'. Do your harvests for drying before the flowers form! My oregano is a type that flowers very early (early June) and I have to watch it, keep it pinched back or just harvest all of it for drying early in the summer.

Well, we are excited to announce that we're hard at work on our Edibles Catalog and then we'll get cracking on the Annuals/ Perennials! Yep, you heard it here folks. Look for herb, vegetable, annual and perennials catalogs next spring (February/March). While you won't be able to order from it (we don't ship our precious plants), you will be able to plan and dream during the long winter and the chilly spring!!


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