GROWING VEGETABLES IN THE SUMMER HEAT
Here it is the middle of June and what do I have growing in my garden here on the Texas coast? We are having 10 hours of sunlight with the sun directly overhead at noon. The temperatures start in the low 80s and spends much of the afternoon in the 90s. It is humid which causes immediate sweat. It may rain a tenth of an inch or a ½ inch some days and stay dry for a week or more. Many plants start wilting by noon.
I have okra from 5 to 7 feet tall and producing well. The two new plantings of okra are 3 to 6 inches tall and growing fast. Tilling dried molasses and Cedarcide sawdust into the soil before planting plus the molasses liquid drenches have significantly limited the damage by root knot nematodes. Nematodes are repelled by the molasses. Cedarcide kills insects in the soil. It comes in both liquid and dry forms.
The two new rows, planted a week apart, of purple hull peas are blooming. The original first two rows of peas which produced over ten gallons of pea pods have put on new growth and are blooming again. I attribute this new growth to the recent rains and the molasses drench which enlivens the microbes in the soil to feed these 3 month old plants.
The tomato plants have been pulled up because the stink or shield bugs and squash bugs were stinging the tomatoes, deforming them, and leaving them distasteful. The ripened tomatoes picked during the first month were large and delicious. Tomatoes don’t set new fruit when the temperature reaches 90 degrees. The root knot nematode damage was much less than in previous years because of the molasses drench.
The eleven varieties of pepper plants have produced many ripe fruits since back in early May. Some of them are now wilting and having yellowing leaves. This indicates the nematodes are starving the plants of both nutrients and water.
I replanted 3 varieties of cucumbers after the first planting started dying from the nematodes which made galls on all the roots. This time I tilled dry molasses and Cedarcide sawdust into the soil along with the organic fertilizers. I also have drenched the cucumbers twice with liquid molasses and once with LMC. The plants are deep green and producing large well-formed cucumbers. I think the heat is limiting some of the fruit set.
I have pulled up the second planting of squash which were in a raised bed. I had tilled in both the dried molasses and the Cedarcide sawdust before planting. There were a few small nematode galls on two plants and done on the other three. I did the same preparation for the third planting in the main garden. The plants are growing but struggling in the drying out heat. I will use the molasses drench again next week.