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Staying Cool

So, the weather has been insanely hot over the last two days and tomorrow is supposed to bring more of the same.  Hopefully, all of you have stayed cool and safe.  The temperatures are hotter than they should be for this time and year, but it is making things grow really fast.  This can be good and bad.  Bad because it probably means that my sugar snap peas will stop producing sooner than later, but it also means that my seeds are sprouting like crazy.

I will say that I am very glad that we did not go into this kind of heat without a few good days of rain under our belts.  Hot weather with a bit of a breeze can dry things out so very quickly.  For a bit of trivia for you to test your plant loving friends.  How any gallons of water can a 90 ft tall and wide tree loose on a 90 degree day with a slight amount of wind?  Over a 100 gallons of water.  Trees need on average 1-1 1/2 inches of rain per week.  How much does turf need to survive?  On average 3/4 inch per month.  So there is something to go out and see if your garden friends know.

So back to discussing the sprouting side of things. The other day I showed a picture of two tiny lettuce seed sprouts, now look at the thing…

Lettuce seeds sprouted in window boxThen there is the pot in which I planted basil seeds.  These were planted on June 4th.  I seeded a bit heavier than I probably need to to since the seed was from 2009. As seeds get older their germination rate drops. Apparently the basil didn’t realize that it was from a few years ago.  Some seeds keep their viability longer than others.  Usually I just increase the amount of seed I use if it’s older seed. If you have leftover seed from this year and would like to save it until next year, store in a cool dry place.

Sprouted basil seed

This is just way too many seedlings for one pot.  I’ll end up thinning down most of them and transplanting a few to other pots.  I make a lot of pesto during the summer, it’s a really and easy to make. If you want to make pesto, you don’t have to use pine nuts, use walnuts instead.  Pine nuts are insanely expensive and pesto should be easy.  I’ll do a post later it the season about using basil to make fresh pesto.

The potatoes are also starting to flower.

Flowers on potato plant

These potatoes have been in the ground since sometime in March.  I don’t remember the exact date, but it was the earliest I ever have planted anything.  Usually when potatoes start to flower it means that the tubers are starting to form underground and could be dug soon if I wanted, but I’m going to wait longer to give them some more time to grow.  If you want storage potatoes, you’ll let these stay in the ground until the top of the plant turns brown. This gives the potatoes time to develop a tougher skin making them better for storage. If you’re wondering, these are Yukon Gold potatoes.  I love these potatoes more so than traditional white potatoes.

And for some last bit of garden eye candy…the okra and cucumbers have also sprouted.

Okra seedlings

And cucumbers…

Cucumber seedlingsThese are the pickler cucumbers.

So, keep an eye on the moisture in your garden especially with this hot weather.  If you’re wondering whether or not to water, stick your fingers about an inch down into the soil, if it’s wet than don’t worry about watering, if it’s dry grab the hose.

Stay cool!

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