Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Hot Summer Days; Cool Summer Nights
Memorial Day tomato planting (40' row)Summer 'officially' arrived early yesterday morning, though away from the numerical confines of our calendar it seems like our warmest season arrived more than a month ago. It's been hot! But of course, only during the day; Gallup's incredible diurnal shifts (daily difference between the daytime high temp. and night low) have been expectedly dramatic this month and the NWS forecast is calling for a low of 36 degrees tonight!
Arroyo gazing at the tucked-in peppers/tomatoes
This 50+ degree difference plays havoc with warmth-requiring crops like tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, and I've had to spend more evenings than I ever expected this month pulling the Agribon-19 floating row covers over the 180' feet of row space planted with this sensitive triad. I primarily chose to grow the Celebrity variety of slicing tomatoes, but I also included a half-dozen each of the large yellow tomatoes and husky red cherry tomatoes, and a dozen Roma plants for canning paste. Jalapenos, Santa Fe Grandes, and Poblanos filled the 30' of space alloted to peppers. The large diurnal shift also has an equal but opposite effect on cool-season crops; cool nights prolong the harvest contrasted with hot days that induce the bitter feeling (and taste) of watching the spinach, radishes, onions, and broccoli start to bolt. Having said that, despite a number of weeks with daily high's in the 90's, most of my cool season crops are still producing a decent harvest every other day or so. The snow peas being the least patient, demanding to be harvested just about every day or they'll quit producing at all. I've also been keeping up with the successional seeding of radishes every week or so, and I am about to start harvesting the 3rd planting. The carrots and shallots are growing well, but I haven't convinced myself that they're ready for harvest yet.
A 25' potato furrow about to be filled with sandy topsoil
At the start of the month I planted the 15 pounds of fingerling potatoes I blogged about earlier in the month, and by now the sprouts have emerged and are 2-4" tall. When most of them reach 5-6" tall I'll mound more soil around them, leaving only about an inch of growth showing. These buried stems are where the potatoes will grow. The potatoes filled 125' of row space, and I still have enough seedlings to plant another 25' row of the buttery and nutty tasting gourmet spuds.
Sorry about the long pause between recent posts; needed a mental vacation. I'll post more details about planting warm season annuals like summer and winter squash, beans, and the cucumbers soon. Also something about the various 6 or more legged creatures that my garden unwittingly sustains, and I'm going to try to keep up with and share the many events going on in the Ramah/El Morro area. Again, thanks for reading.