I hope you are enjoying the cool down before we leap back into the 100+ temperatures.
I like to talk about our summers being like winter in North Dakota - you hunker down and make do. BUT that is not the whole of it. Many of our vegetables and herbs LOVE and need the heat and all of that sun. Tomatoes and Basil for example.
The real issue is not the air temperature but the soil temperature, which is why I and others talk mulch, mulch, and more mulch. It cools the soil and roots, minimizes evaporation which maximizes your water usage and creates the optimal environment of direct sun for the tops of the plants and cool soil for their 'feet'.
June, July and August are a lot about going and coming. The picture at the top is of my Turmeric - just last week I was looking to see if it had sprouted - nothing. Then yesterday "boom" there it was about 14 inches tall already! FYI the yellow you see in the center of the leaf is the sun peaking through branches of the citrus tree right beside the area.
Then there is my celery which had happily reseeded not only in the designated greens area but here, there and everywhere. It is all going to seed or will be going to seed, so I wanted to get some to freeze. I dry a lo of my herbs, but I thought since I mostly use his much celery in cooking I figured flash freeze and bag up for later use. I still have some in the garden (some is a euphemism for way too much) which I can still harvest until they flower.
My greens and herbs bed this winter has given me so much joy, I plan on continuing this each year. I stuff them into sandwiches, soups, stews, under and in salads, including tuna and egg and I also use a ton of them in cold grain salads like a mix of barley and quinoa.
About gardening in the Summer. You could call summer our transition planting/sowing time. There is active growth and production (such as the tomatoes and basil mentioned), along with sweet potato leaves to use as greens, and melons.
June and July is about sowing foods which will produce in the fall and some of them will produce in the summer.
Fall production like winter squash needs to be planned for by sowing in May-July to have them for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Plan ahead on things you would like to sow in July and August. July is the Monsoon sowing time for things like winter squash, corn and beans (Three Sisters). Then the middle to late August we start sowing - fall herbs and veggies. Root crops may require a very cool long growing season.
Head varieties of foods like broccoli and brussel sprouts also need a long cool weather growing time.
Like wise all the greens and herbs like dill, cilantro, chervil and parsley like the cool weather, so - sow early and often on the greens and herbs to continue to harvest all winter into spring.
Peas, Black Eyed
USING existing plants you can under- seed with: Basil, Chives, Shiso, and Epazote
EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:
Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa) (not too late to direct sow seeds)
GARDEN TIPS for June
June through August in the Desert Southwest is the equivalent of winter in North Dakota — you maintain what you have planted, taking special care of young or sensitive plants. With the exception of August when the heavy pre-fall seed “sowing” begins, it is a good idea to hold off on any major transplanting until the fall when the temperatures drop back to prime planting weather (below 90 daytime).
Our Flower Mulching technique can be used to protect young plants by canopying the soil around them, placing the flowering plants very close to the base of the young plants.
Heavy watering requirements may result in yellowing of leaves due to iron deficiency, especially of fruit trees (Chlorosis). Apply Ironite or Green Sand before next watering to correct.
Sowing corn for fall harvest, plant ONLY one variety at a time, so you can save some dried corn after harvest for re-sowing. You can sow corn twice a year.
Use your moisture meter to determine if you need to change the frequency of watering adjusting to the higher temperatures. Did you know you can actually over water when the humidity starts ramping up in July? Again use that meter.
Begin looking into what you will be sowing mid to late July and Early August for fall growth. If you want winter squash or pumpkin you need to count backwards from Halloween or Thanksgiving 90-120 days for sowing. Also you can seed in winter herbs such as Cilantro, Chervil, Dill and Parsley in August and the seeds will germinate when the soil begins cooling. You need to make sure the sown area stays moist. Light Leaf cover helps.
Around the Garden - More
My Caper is starting to put out flowers. While the caper most know to folks is the "unopened" flower bud - I wait for the fruit which follows to harvest to brine and store. This is such a gorgeous flower and it only lasts about 1 day then fades.
Black Tail Watermelon is one of my favorites for size (small to medium) and taste - delicious!
I sowed seeds back on February 18th and the seedlings were coming along nicely, but I was concerned because they had managed to get outside the cardboard tube I use to keep the pests from getting to the tender stems. They were going along nicely until about 10 days ago when I came out and they had been cut at the soil level. Grrrrr. So, I went on to soak more seeds for a couple of days and put them in - making sure they wound up inside the tube - on Thursday. I was absolutely amazed they sprouted on Monday - 4 days later! This is a picture this morning. I put a bit of leaf debris to provide that mulch effect I talk about. There are multiple seedlings so I will watch and choose which is the strongest. The chicken wire collar is a bird deterrent :)
I hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend - remember our fallen heroes while enjoying your BBQ, AND be safe, be kind, and be patient.
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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