July 7, 2012 - Am I Melting Yet?


Close!

The Weather Channel says it's 96F here....it lies.  Our digital outdoor thermometer, hanging in the shade of the patio, says it's 98.7.  I took it out and hung it on the clothesline, in the sun, not touching any metal, and it's registering 110.3 right now.  This isn't even our hottest part of the day!  I went out to the garden about six times to pick stuff, as I could only stand being out there for a few minutes at a time.  I picked half of the beans last night, but the other half really has to be picked tonight.  It will just be hotter if I wait until tomorrow.  I might have to take a flashlight out and pick after dark!

Yes, I just gave in and turned the air conditioning on.


The GOOD news is, now that many of you have been taunting me with your strawberry harvests, mine has finally begun!


They are the biggest berries this variety has ever given me!  It looks like this might be my best strawberry season yet.


Some of us have been having a conversation about whether too much watering makes our tomatoes taste bland.  I am an over-waterer, and always have been.  I listen to those who brag about their delicious varieties, then I grow them, and they are just average tasting.  Mine are never super sweet or super anything, they are just.....well, just good, not great.  Now it turns out those in areas hit by heat and drought, who haven't had the means to give their gardens much water, are growing super good tasting tomatoes!  I did a little taste test on my own this morning.  I have three identical Minigold tomato plants in identical black pots.  Minigold #1 is on the patio, and only gets watered when I notice it is quite severely wilted.  Minigold #2 is in the garden and it gets watered on odd days, by the lawn sprinklers.  Minigold #3 is in another area of the garden that gets sprinkled on odd days by the lawn sprinklers, and on even days it is also hit by by the garden sprinkler, so it gets double the amount of water.  Taste test results:  Minigold #1 was sweet and juicy, and had the largest tomatoes.  Minigold #2 was a bit sour, but juicy, and the fruits were slightly smaller.  Minigold #3 was sour, mealy and the fruits were the smallest.  So there is another reason to not over water the garden.

It's now 101.3 in the shade.  Hey, I listened to you guys complain for the last week or two, now it's my turn!






36 comments:

  1. Such beautiful strawberries! i hope they do well in the heat (even if you're not a fan of it) and will turn out sweeter and larger than usual :) Thanks for the tip on watering - I'll slow down on it as i'm guilty of overwatering too.

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    1. Jenny, I just hate to see the leaves wilting! I think I have to run right out and water them, even though over watering can make them do the very same thing. I think it's going to be a very hard habit to break.

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  2. See, this is why I read garden blogs - you get first hand advice from tested theories! I will follow this with my tomato plants as well.

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  3. Great advice! I will definitely keep the tomato tip in my bag of tricks!

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    1. Shannan, it wasn't much of a test ;-) I think it's worth a try, though.

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  4. Beautiful strawberries Granny! I am very jealous. I really didn't know that you were an over-waterer. Not me, I follow my grandfather's advice regarding watering. He was a farmer for his entire life. I really don't water a lot, especially my tomato plants. So, I guess your little taste test can teach an Old Granny new Tricks :)

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    1. Robin, I went out an hour ago and looked at the tomatoes. Some of them are drooping badly, but I just gritted my teeth and came back in the house. I'll check on them early in the morning, and if they are still droopy I'll water. Maybe I should put myself on a schedule...every three days for a while, then every four days. Ease myself into it ;-)

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    2. Granny, when it's really hot & dry weather, I water them every other day. Your plants are used to a lot of water. So, you may want to ease them in to it slowly. I say, when they look like they need water, water them.

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    3. Robin, I already water them every other day. Of course, it hasn't been this hot for a couple of years now.

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  5. *gasp* I'm an over waterer! Now I know to let those leave droop. I will attempt to refrain from rushing out and watering, because I have a nasty habit of doing just that. Thanks Granny!

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  6. Welcome to Georgia weather! Somebody put a cute cartoon on Facebook -- two devils staring at a temperature chart, and one of them is saying, "Well, this is embarrassing! Atlanta's hotter."

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    1. LOL, Dianefaith. Now Pasco is hotter!

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  7. Wah Wah Wah, cry me a river! :)

    110, that is some serious heat, we have never hit that even down here. It is ok, you can complain all you want.

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    1. Oh, I will, Kris! I'm really going to rub it in your faces!!!! Here you all thought it was always cool here in this part of the NW. I kept telling you it gets hot here, we just had an off year in 2011!

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  8. That is interesting about the watering tomatoes too much. I guess I probably water mine too much too. Thankfully it finally started cooling down a little here. Thanks for the info. Nancy

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  9. That is just crazy weather. I wonder if it's heading our way. Water management is really an art, isn't it? Weather, variety, soil types. And my professor said I'd be bored as a farmer. Ha.

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    1. Stefaneener, us? bored? Nah. Our gardens always keep us guessing!

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  10. You be careful in that heat,it can really sneak up on a person! Your having a Texas summer it sounds like.

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    1. Nah, Texan, we're having a normal summer. It almost always hits us like this, all at once. No easy transition from spring to summer. Last year my garden was terrible, because it didn't get hot enough! This just means I can't sleep in for the next few days. I'll have to get up and out to the garden as early as I can get my eyes open.

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  11. Oh, sure, Nartaya and Nancy. Let your tomatoes die of thirst because "Granny said so!" LOL, let your good sense be your guide. I have two that are drooping badly, but one always does that in even less heat than this. If they don't perk up by dusk, I'll go ahead and water them. I stuck a moisture meter down into their pots and one registered dry, the other had the needle bouncing around, so I don't know about that one. All the others, if they aren't beginning to wilt, I'll not water them.

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  12. I had not heard of the overwatering making the taste different, but I am intrigued by this. I'm very glad to know this.

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    1. Charlotte, it's not a scientific finding, just an observation a few of us have made. I'm sure somebody more knowledgeable will come along and say we're wrong ;-)

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  13. I'm so glad you have some observation on this. Mine are in raised beds and even in this heat only get watered once or twice a week. And only because it hasn't rained here in so long. I've always taken that approach to my plants, though. It makes their roots go deeper to get water and produces stronger plants more likely to survive our unpredictable summers. My mother prefers to water hers almost daily. They now require it because their roots are not deep enough to find water. So, like Robin said, I'd wean them slowly to give them time to grow deeper.

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    1. Langela, mine are in the bottomless buckets, so the soil gets really warm in them. Those out in the garden aren't getting nearly the amount of water as those I water by hand. The sprinkler barely reaches the edge of that bed, at the base of the plants, so they have to search a bit for water. I try to remember to check the others with a moisture meter, but I don't always trust it when the needle begins bouncing back and forth between wet and dry!

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  14. Wow! Really nice sized strawberries you have there Granny! I hope they keep coming for ya. My mom lives in southeast AL...she said it was 110 there yesterday. I feel for ya'll, I really do! West Central FL has been hitting the 90's but the humidity is killer. Stay cool Granny!

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    1. Family Circus, this variety gives me the best harvest mid-July to mid-August, but I even picked a full pound the day before we left for AZ last year, mid-October. I imagine I'll be getting a few right up until Thanksgiving this year, since we won't be going anywhere for the winter.

      I'm mostly staying inside and cool, but I did get a half row of beans picked when the temp dropped to 93. I'll try to get the other half picked before dark!

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  15. Oh, those strawberries look gorgeous! Ours were a real failure this year because the slugs were so bad and we'd thinned the beds. Interesting thoughts about watering. I don't overwater because watering my garden is such a pain in the neck. It's pretty far from the house and I use a long hose. An hour of watering barely does the job, so I avoid it as much as I can! But the rain we were promised for last night never materialized, so I'll be out there this morning. Sigh.

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    1. Nutmeg, half of my garden is watered automatically, with the lawn. The other half involves turning the handle on a faucet! The only hand watering I do are the buckets and pots down tomato alley, which is right next to the faucet, and takes me less than five minutes. I'm so spoiled, LOL!

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  16. Nice berries!I thought they liked cool, not hot?

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    1. David, I suppose June bearing berries do, but these are everbearing and put out their main crops during July and August, with smaller crops every other month that it isn't freezing.

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  17. Well this is good to know, since we are under water restriction and I haven't really been watering my tomatoes anymore. Maybe I'll get fewer, but those will be tastier...

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    1. Anke, I'd just worry myself to death if they put me under water restriction! We have irrigation water, all we need, for six months of the year. We pay for it along with our property taxes, and have to pay whether we use it or not. It has never been restricted in the 38 years we've used it, but their pumps have broken down a few times and left us without water for a week or so. Then I have to haul out the hoses and use our house water. We have very sandy soil, which does not hold the moisture well, so frequent watering is a necessity. I still manage to overdo it!

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  18. Woohoo! Yay for the strawberries! I am a huge over-waterer too. Though my system isn't very wasteful. I have a soaker hose running the length of the beds and then doubling back before ending in a small sprinkler at the pumpkin bed. I can control the flow at the timer end (set to run 45 minutes morning and evening), and at the sprinkler (turned down to a mere trickle). I can also adjust the flow to my drip lines for the pots and barrels, and my soaker line for the winter squash. All in all I've created a Frankenstein's monster of a watering system, but it does its job. I'd love to try starving my tomatoes for water, but to do that I would have to starve the pumpkins and beans and zucchini too. Maybe i'll just try watering once a day and hose the pumpkin bed by hand, then slowly reduce the water over time.

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    1. Anywhere, I'm hanging in there! I'll water tomorrow, then try to hold off until Thursday. We'll see how that goes during this hot spell.

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  19. We were in the mountains (well what Massachusetts calls mountains) so we had such nice weather 70s sunny most of the time. The poor garden was sweltering though as it got close to 90s most of the days. Oh wait. That is not plant sweltering. I think they love that heat. I'd be sweltering in that heat though.

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    1. Daphne, I did OK out there until it hit about 95 (in the shade) yesterday. Then I had to just go out for a few minutes at a time.

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