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Summer Stress

The weather has been ridiculously hot around here for the last several weeks (high 80’s to low 90’s), and according to weather reports it’s supposed to “cool down” to somewhere in the mid 80’s to high 70’s for the next few weeks. I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and I’m used to one hot week mid-summer, so this extended hot weather has been problematic for a few reasons. First off, the plants all need more water because they are drying out quicker, and the weeds have begun to take over since it’s been so difficult to get out in the hot sun and spend time in the garden.

The plants have also begun to show signs of heat stress: I have several tomato plants that were full of blossoms and the blossoms shriveled up and fell off. A few of my pepper plants are showing stress as well. Some bell peppers have lost blossoms and surprisingly my jalapeno plant has yellowed almost completely. The Cayenne pepper plants I bought this year are doing amazing and producing tons of peppers though.

One thing I made note of this year was how well my tomato plants have been doing that I put deep waterers in. I potted all my tomatoes this year and for no reason other than I had two empty juice bottles, I made deep waterers for two of my pots. The tomatoes with deep waterers have grown quickly, blossomed well, and haven’t had any wilting or blossom loss in the heat. I think I can already say I will be getting a much bigger harvest from the plants with deep waterers. Next year I will putting deep waterers in all my pots.

Deep Waterer

The other problem with the heat is, it pushed some plants to seed instead of them growing to harvest size. My radishes and spinach flowered before I was able to harvest most of them, but I’m letting the radishes and spinach continue to grow so I can harvest their seeds instead of wasting the energy I put into growing them so far.

In just over a week my radishes went from doing great to full on flowering. Even though I’m disappointed I haven’t gotten a great radish harvest this year I do love the delicate white and purple flowers the radishes produce, and I’ll never need to buy radish seeds again!

Radish blossoms

The onions I planted have done so well, and the beets are continuing to grow. The flowers in my front garden are also doing amazing. Other than the tomatoes and some of the peppers all my plants seem to be tolerating the heat really well. My sugar snap peas have given me a second harvest, I harvested all my carrots, planted another round and they’ve all sprouted.

Sugar Snap Pea Blossom

The kids have been eager to help in the garden, so during the last round of carrot planting we planted carrots in the kids initials, and they have loved seeing them sprout and grow. It’s so true what people say about kids being more willing to try vegetables when they have helped grow them, so even though I get irritated about the occasional trampled carrot or onion, It’s worth it to see the interest and joy of gardening growing in my kids.

Carrot Seedlings

So remember water your plants early and often. If you can, add a deep root waterer to your existing plants they will thank you. I added deep waterers to two of my tomato planters which had blossoms falling off. I have noticed a few new blossoms, and the wilting has stopped. Have you ever tried a deep root waterer? What were your results like?