Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deep Summer Frustrations

This time of year is a time of hiding in the AC, paddling in a lake or river, and throwing copious amounts of water on the vegetables i try to eek through the summer. Sadly, sometimes water just doesn't do the trick! Earlier in the year i was watering about once a week. As the temps increased i bumped it to twice. This week? it's been about 100 degrees every day with lows only in the high 70s: i've been watering every other day!  Granted - i have really crappy, old, not-very-well-functioning soaker hoses in my gardens. One day i'll have a more permanent setup that works more efficiently.

Wilty habanero. Perks back in the mornings usually, but hates the afternoon.

I seem to be having a problem with peppers this year. A pepper problem. My cayenne curse continues - the 'not cayenne' plant that was supposed to be a cayenne plant just bit the dust. Rot? Wilt? General malaise? In one day it went from productive perky pepper to sad wilted dead pepper. I plucked off the remaining fruits and pulled it up - sure enough the roots were not extensive, and the stem at the soil line showed a bit of black with a hollow/chalky/rotty looking center. I'm not positive what ailed it - but i am praying whatever IT was IT doesn't spread to my other happy peppers. My habanero is closest in the bed, and hasn't even close come to fulfilling my habanero hankering - so it better not bite the dust!

In my other circular bed, more malaise. My big thai pepper which has yet to bear a single fruit is perpetually wilty. Just today the delicious Mucho Nacho Jalapeno started to show signs of wilt as well. It may be 103 outside, but those peppers should perk back in the morning regardless of water. I probed the soil and came up with 'wet' so no more watering from me - too much water is just as bad or worse as too little. Nasty diseases like the moist environment and spread more quickly, and rot is eager to grab its hold. Not 2 days after that initial crash, the jalapeno is a goner. Again - picked the fruits off the dying plant and pulled it up. Wah!

Sad Mucho Nacho Jalapeno, or is it a Concho - need to check my labels
I took a bit of a laison fair attitude (no idea how to spell that, by the way) to my garden this year. I guess it's getting back at me. I'm not one to folior feed often with seaweed or anything else. I fertilize at planting. I fertilize at flower. I fertilizer every month or so - but i don't overly coddle my plants: perhaps i should.  I read about certain treatments you can baby your veggies with in the hot summer. I guess i'd better employ a few of those, starting with compost tea. Compost: the cure all! I may make my own or purchase a gallon from the Natural Gardener, i still have my gallon bucket from my employee-discount days  somewhere.

So, say a little prayer for my pepper friends. I'm not about to give up on them yet! At least the 3 new little transplants i put in the other garden seem to be chugging along.
For now.

What do you do for your garden in the Summer heat?

(ps, i'm so jealous of all of you in prime tomato season! I just can't stand this August 'too hot to even go out and turn the compost much less flower and set fruit' weather!)

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