You may have heard of, or been affected by, this heat wave that's been moving across the country recently. From what I read, New York City hit 104 degrees last week, and the heat and humidity lasted for so long that the 91-degree day we had this week felt like a cool rest from the heat. But here's the thing: I wasn't in NYC for any of this.
I took an 8-day roadtrip down the Pacific Coast Highway last week, driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a fancy new (rental) Mustang convertible, stopping at tiny towns along the way. And yes, it was fantastic, thank you for asking. A good friend offered to care for FarmTina the entire time I was away, and I was grateful for the help and felt a little guilty about leaving her with the daily responsibility. But then my guilt grew when, sometime in the middle of the week, I emerged from a tiny no-cell-service valley town to find texts from her that I had missed while in the dead zone: What special care does the garden need when it's over 100 degrees?
Honestly I had no idea what to tell her. I responded, water the plants multiple times each day, instead of just once. Water early in the morning so that the plants have time to absorb the water before the heat evaporates it away. I thought, move the plants, which are all growing in buckets, into the shade? But that seemed ridiculous, like one of those TSA 8-oz liquid rules that gives the appearance of doing something helpful but it really has no effect on anything.
My kind friend worked very hard to care for my babies, and I am so apologetic that she had to deal with the garden at its worst! Despite all her care and attentiveness, some of the plants didn't make it through the intense heat and sun. You might remember dear readers that this is the second disaster to strike FarmTina in the last year... Brooklyn tornado, anyone?
The wilting plant in the yellow bucket is my edamame, gone beyond repair. Bummer! That bucket is a found & reused Ikea metal trash can, and I'm sure that material contributed to heating up the soil beyond healthy levels. The second edamame plant to the right in a plastic pot is a little brown around the edges but salvageable. The eggplant (the other plastic pot and the black pot) are looking great and are still thriving and blooming!
My poor cucumbers! Before I left they were vining and looking healthy, but now they've totally collapsed. It looks like some cucumbers attempted to ripen during the extreme heat but eventually gave up when their vines died. However, the marigolds growing in the cucumber pots, which act as a natural deterrent to cucumber beetles, are doing fine.
The petunias in my pallet garden are totally withered, but the succulents planted in the same space are perfectly happy! They're native to hot weather climates.
I started pruning off the dry and dead pieces of my plants to save the healthy parts. Here's a peek at some of the aftermath, cut off of my sunflowers. But don't worry, the flowers themselves are doing ok...
Let's do a quick check of my garden, shall we?
Gonna be fine
- lemon tree
Might Pull Through
- apple tree
- string beans
- brussels sprouts
- hot lemon peppers
- some morning glories
Gone But Not Forgotten
- spaghetti squash
- an entire wall of climbing morning glories
Has anyone else been affected by the heat wave? What are you doing to keep your plants healthy?