Hot weather calls for garden routine changes
By Farmer Bubba Scott
Did you ever think about how seasons are like a clock? Six months into the season we are now at the bottom of the hour. It is half past July and not only is it hot for us, it's really hot for the plants. The soil is baking, but life there keeps on doing what it does. That's why it's important to maintain your garden during the heat. Keep it watered and put something on top of the soil that will keep the moisture in. Leaves, grass clippings and those things we call weeds will help keep the dampness in the soil and deflect some of the daily heat.
On my farm, this time of year I let the above-ground growth compost on its own. It don't look pretty out there, but this ground cover method works for me. In a way, it's a whole different way to compost. It's part of the Farmer Bubba way.
The general idea of composting most peple have is a pile. But when I leave old plant growth in my containers, the dead plant material breaks down and mixes into the dirt. This process adds food material to the soil and keeps all those little microscopic families in the soil happy until it's time to plant again.
BUBBA NOTE: Keeping your soil alive is important. If you let it dry out, you'll have a problem in a couple of months when your plants will need food for growth.
Last week, I took ya'll to the produce section of your favorite store for a little scratch and sniff test. This week I'm going to talk about something even Farmer Bubba overlooks. It not only has something to do with the soil, it's something we all over look. It's called Rest.
I let my container soil rest between plantings. Think of it like this. For almost six months, my plants have been eating at the same GLOB lunch spot and they have drained the soil of its nutrients. The little nutrient families living down there have done a great job feedin' the plants. Now they need a rest. However they still need to have something to eat and it's your job to supply 'em with a GLOB lunch special.
Here's how I came up with this nutrient family analogy and how it relates to us adults. After a long hot day, we need a little rest and something good to eat. Our bodies are a lot like the garden soil. For both, good rest and good nutrients will replenish us for our next adventure.
BUBBA NOTE: I always talk about spending time in your garden and the importance of being involved in the growing process. This is when the garden talks back to me. When I take time to listen I get great ideas, like letting plants "composting in place" at the end of the growing season.
One thing I like to do on those rest and relaxation days is check out my seed catalogs. I enjoy lookin' at the pictures the most. Even though I save a lot of my seeds, it's fun to kick back, relax, and imagine myself in a field of plants in the magazine photographs.
There are a few seed catalogs I've found that not only have the best seeds prices and availability, but also the best customer service. They also guarantee their seeds. Not only the vegetable seeds, but flower seeds as well.
BUBBA NOTE: I've said this before. There's nothing more disappointing than buying seeds that don't grow. Some companies that sell seeds could care less if they are good or not. This is why you should know who and where you buy seeds from.
These four companies have almost everything I could ever want to grow year round. I am picky when it comes to buying seeds. When I start my seeds, I expect a 98% germination rate. That means, if I start 100 seeds, I want all of them to sprout, even the couple of slow starters that are always there somewhere.
BUBBA NOTE: We all know about hydration. When we're in the heat, we need to take in plenty of fluids. Your garden soil is no different. To keep it happy and healthy, your soil needs to remain hydrated.
Take care of your garden and take care of yourself through these hot months. I learned a big lesson from my Four Legged Compost Squad and my plants these past few weeks. If I'm not good to myself, I won't be any good to the ones I need to take care of. Plants and animals talk to us through their eyes and leaves. Be sure to take the time to listen to their voices.
Aloha from the desk, on Farmer Bubba's Farm.
Do you have a gardening question for Farmer Bubba or a photo of your garden you would like to share? Email Bubba or add your question in the comment window below, and Bubba will try to reply as quickly as possible.
Latest from Mike S. GLOB Master
'Could care less': Randy, I appreciate your appeal to literal meanings and logic. Ironically, especially in the case of clichés or idioms, phrases can come to mean the opposite of what is literally said because language-–vs grammar and logic!--is a living, breathing organism subject to things like “clipping,” which causes words and meanings to evolve over time. Thus, the expression 'could care less' has had the meaning 'to NOT care' since at least 1936 in even such a paragon of culture as The New Yorker (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/could_care_less). As a 30-year editor, I have concluded that the best test of whether a person expresses something “correctly” is whether s/he has been understood. So here’s another irony-–the evidence that you DID understand what Bubba meant is that you were correcting him. LOL!! Life and language are strange. Thanks for literally not caring less and for being a GLOB reader. GLOB Content Editor signing off
Bob-the paint guy. Thursday, 26 July 2012 05:53 Comment Link
Bubba, once again your column was very informative.I look forward to your column every week now. Keep up the good work.
Randy Wednesday, 25 July 2012 12:18 Comment Link
Bubba, you said, "Some companies that sell seeds could care less if they are good or not. "
That should be "couldn't care less." See, if they could care less, that means they care some now. And the idea you are expressing is that they don't care at all. Thanks for your soil and garden tips, I like to read 'em.