Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Report from Hotlanta

When we first moved here (back in 1990), a lot of Atlanta's advertising included the word Hotlanta as a substitute for the city name. I never really understood why they would advertise that sometimes it gets uncomfortably hot here, but I am not in marketing.

This summer has been particularly hot, so it should be no surprise that some of my garden crops aren't doing as well as I would prefer. The cucumbers, in particular, are pretty much dead:

One of my friends asked today whether any of the flowers on her plants would actually set fruit in this heat (we've had a lot of days in a row with highs in the mid-to-high-90s). The answer is, "it depends." Tomatoes don't usually set new fruit in this kind of heat, but they will keep on maturing fruits that have already formed (if they don't cook right on the plant).

Specifically, though, she wanted to know about cucumbers. My experience with cucumbers, ones that are actually still alive and flowering in high heat, is that they might set a few fruits, but that the cukes that form will be oddly shaped from the uneven pollination that will occur. Pepper plants, though, and maybe the eggplants, which are much more heat loving than other crops, are more likely to keep on fruiting through the heat.

I say that, of course, while my own eggplants look like heck. They do have fruits on them, though!

And while the cucumber vines are definitely "done" in my yard, other plants seem to be just fine, even in the heat. I have created a planting calendar for my fall garden, based on times to maturity and counting back from the first frost day, that has Swiss chard as being planted in July and August. However, I had a space back in June and decided to plant some chard seeds then, and the little plants look just fine.

By the time the weather starts to moderate in mid-September, these will be eating size. Apparently, chard can be planted all summer long, and I need to revise my planting calendar.

The Malabar spinach, which shares a trellis with the dead cucumbers, is doing well in the heat, too. I haven't eaten any, yet, but we have a stir-fry planned for later this week, and some leaves will be going into that meal.

Elsewhere in the garden, peppers are green and growing, just like they are supposed to be in the heat.

And the Heritage red raspberries are putting out their second flush of fruits.


  1. have so many varities in your yard.....keep the good work up...

  2. Maralyn,

    Thanks! At the last talk I gave, someone expressed surprise over the many varieties in a small space. I like to think that having lots of different kinds of food growing means that one or two crops can totally fail, but I'll still be getting food from the yard.


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