Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hot Weather on it's Way!

Good morning Portland gardeners,

June is here and she has brought an early taste of summer!

Yesterday I had a perfect window first thing in the morning to sneak in several hours of gardening in between the rain showers. Yesterday seems to be the end of the week of cooler temperatures, clouds and rain. Today it should be sunny and 75 and starting Saturday the forecast is for several days of 90 degrees. Now that is quite an increase in temperature, a 30 degree difference over the course of just a few days.

What this usually means for me is my body has a hard time adjusting to the extreme increase and I am prone to heat exhaustion. This can also be true of your pets. Please limit your outdoor activities in the late afternoon during hottest temperatures until everyone in your family is adjusted to the summer like weather. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, not coffee & soda. Put on your sunscreen and make sure you are wearing a hat. I want us all to live healthy for a very long time in our gardens!

If you have planting to do, I would get it in today while it is still relatively cool. 90 degree temperatures are not ideal for planting. During temperature increases please make sure your new transplants are well watered in, this could be quite a shock for them. In Portland, watering is best done first thing in the morning before 10am. If you have containers, they will need more frequent watering during hotter weather.

If you have recently planted seeds for things like carrots, beets, salad mix, sunflowers, etc be sure to keep the seed bed evenly moist during this hot weather. That may mean a light watering several times a day to keep that surface soil moist for ideal germination.

In hotter weather, especially a sudden temperature spike, our cool season edibles are prone to bolting. This is when an annual plant gets stressed its going to die and produces a flower followed by seeds so that it can reproduce itself. When bolting happens, your edible plant will cease leaf production and start to taste bitter. Yesterday I harvested all of our spinach in anticipation of the warmer temperatures. My cilantro already bolted, which is fine because the beneficial bugs love the tiny flowers. And after flowering cilantro will produce delicious coriander seeds. I grow cilantro spring and fall and skip summer growing all together.

These plants with a cool preference may bolt in the warmer weather and you could harvest today to prevent losing your crop:

Endive & Escarole
Florence Fennel
Mesclun Mix
Mustard Greens

If you planted garlic in the fall it may be nearing harvestable maturity. Last week I harvested all of our softneck garlic because I needed room in the raised bed for summer crops-basil & tomatoes. Yesterday I harvested delicious garlic scapes and all of our hardneck garlic. I could tell it was ready because its foliage was turning yellow and had completely flopped over.

Your tomatoes are going to love this weather and will probably shoot up several inches of new growth. I hope you can enjoy the sunny hot garden from a relaxing chair with iced tea in hand. Happy gardening! Jolie

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