Past summers here in the south, were drenched in 100-degree heat and sun day-after-day, zero rain, watering schedules, and fighting over who got the water in Lake Lanier. This year there was more rain, temps in the 90's, more weeds and more vegetables. Sort of, if your plot didn’t get flooded out you may have grown more. What a difference rain makes.
In this climate it is not uncommon for people to grow vegetables in the fall for their health when the heat is just too darn hot, and for more success. These days economically, it's good advice to grow your own as much as possible.
1. Have no expectations, it sounds just like life doesn’t it and anything that comes after that it a bonus and a blessing. It may not have been what you were expecting as a first step to gardening in extreme temperatures but it’s wisdom and keeps gardening in perspective. If you are new to your hot location don’t give up on your dreams of gardening. If you want to garden you will find a way and you will needs some tips.
2. Conserve your organic matter. Organic matter, matters. Soil is not rich and friable needs organic matter. No matter where you are gardening the soil is everything. Save your kitchen scraps minus the animal products and grease, and apply it to your garden when the time is right. If the water drains all out and the roots don’t have some fiber to hold on to, your garden will be unsuccessful
3. Trace minerals are necessary, don’t mean maybe, when you are growing in the extreme temps. Just like human beings need their electrolytes, vegetable plants need their trace minerals to grow healthily and vigorously. Boogie Brew-makes your plants dance. You can stop buying fertilizer.
4. Soil needs probiotics too. Boogie humus. Their needs to be a balance and depending on the compost or mulch you are using, your healthy fungi may be non-existent. Enzymes fry in the heat so add them back in.
5. Tomatoes stress. Tomatoes are the number one vegetable grown in the garden. Grow a climate appropriate tomato that can handle 90 degrees and higher. They will stop producing flowers and fruit and are not climatized. Grow a small fruit variety for top performance cherry tomatoes rock in the heat and so do the smaller tomatoes. Sorry no fatted big boys if you want your southern heat garden to be successful, especially if you do not have loads of water available all summer long.
6. Plant densely. The intense heat and sunlight evaporate the soil. When you plant like this the sun doesn’t hit the soil.
7. Adapt to change. You can’t grow with the same methods you may have grown with in the north when you are vegetable gardening in the desert or the south. The same methods don’t work. You have a longer growing season, heat and less water.
8. Experiment with new crops, you always have your reliable vegetables for your meals which should be 80% of your garden. The other 20% should be plants you are experimenting with to see what else may grow in your climate. Seeds are the best way to keep from being disappointed from money lost on varieties that didn’t work. Keeping your seeds on the plants that do work saves you valuable cash and shopping time in the winter and spring. You grew them in your conditions and the plant fully expressed itself, they are keepers.
Learn and grow
Drip irrigation works. The trick to being successful in this method is doing it on a regular schedule. You need a timer, or you need to be regular. Plants adapt to what is going on and they are sensitive to their surroundings. It may be hot and dry but if they know what is coming at the same time every day they will hang. Talk to them and let them know in the beginning.
New technology and new perspectives come out continuously. Learn and grow, read, talk to other gardeners, take any classes around your neighborhood to see how others may be doing it.
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