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Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

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Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/2/2012, 12:30 pm

It's July, and it's scorching in our sub-tropical region! Even the advantages given us by intensive SFG methods are difficult to maintain in the July and August heat. Watering heavily and using shade cloth may be all too necessary, yet losses may still occur. Humidity could foster mildew, especially if it rains a lot. Tropical storms and hurricanes may threaten to wash away all your efforts (as I have learned twice this year already!) and so you try to shore things up while you hope you can save something...anything! With all this, we need each-other's support and encouragement more than ever. Let's all make an effort to put updates here, and encourage each other to keep trying!

As for my garden, it is struggling along...or at least one box is. My rattlesnake beans have completed their life cycle and the beans are drying in the house. The cucumber is between harvests, but was saved from the SVB which devastated most of my squash plants. My Malabar spinach is up to the top of the trellis. Some carrots are ready for harvest, and the Carrot Week carrots that survived TS Beryl are almost there. My lettuce gave up the ghost, but my chard is hanging in there. My bunching onions are nearly ready, my nasturtiums are flowing over the corner of the box in profusion with lovely autumn colors intermixed with the many leaves. My 6 pepper plants are growing peppers everywhere! The only squash that survived the SVB infestation are the Seminole pumpkins in the 1'x4' pumpkin box...I read that they are naturally resistant to SVB, so all we had to do was help them along, and we have great hopes for a late pumpkin harvest. I had a total failure of sunflower efforts in a 1'x4' box. The box I'd planned for herbs and squash lost all it's squash and all but one herb, a lovely, yummy spicy globe basil. As for the tomatoes, they have been hit by blight, hard, and thanks to TS Debby I will be unable to save them. So, I will start seeds to plant out for the fall and winter seasons. My garden survived pretty well after the storm...And yet, just a day of extreme heat (mid-90s with heat index in the 105 range) after the storm left us, we had to begin watering our garden again! Everything gets droopy during the daytime, no matter what we do.

Here's my beautiful basil:


Here's the majority of my surviving plants. You can barely see one of the two Seminole pumpkins on the far right (they somehow got cut out of the picture):


Here are my boys, goofing off with the first carrot we harvested. It's not supposed to be this long! Perhaps it grew faster than expected, because it was bitter as well, and it's supposed to be a very sweet carrot:


The following does not pertain to gardening, but if you're interested in a comparison of the effects of the two recent, early Tropical Storms in my area, read on:

I mentioned the tropical storms...indeed, we have been hit twice this year already, and records have been made left and right this season. I live in the NE corner of Florida, where I-10 and I-75 meet, about an hour west of Jacksonville, almost an hour north of Gainesville (home of the University of FL), and half an hour south of the GA border. The house we live in is at the top of a long hill, at the bottom of which is a lake named for Chief Alligator of the Seminole tribe...Alligator Lake. It suffered heavily from the drought of recent years. The bottom was exposed by the drought in many areas, and swamp grasses grew in place of the usual green of algae. We were afraid the lake would entirely disappear in our arm of it.

In May, TS Beryl hit us before the hurricane season officially started. It wasn't bad, really, just a bit of much-needed rain and some wind. The rain came in bands, with breaks between allowing the water to soak in or run off for the most part. Only the lowest-lying areas flooded. Alligator Lake didn't rise appreciably from the rains of this storm. Jacksonville was hit harder, but they're in lower-lying lands than we are.

Then TS Debby hit in June...we had constant, unceasing rain that only varied in intensity for several days. Our yard actually had puddles that wouldn't drain, which really surprised us. Several neighbors had leaks in their roofs and had to put up tarps until repairs could be made. Mud covered low-lying roads and yards downhill from us. A tree fell and destroyed a brick mailbox structure down the street. Many peoples' homes were flooded, and though most of my close friends were not among the victims whose homes were flooded, one dear friend's house in a neighboring town was flooded. She just got in yesterday to see the damage, so I'm waiting to hear how bad it was. So many people were flooded out of their homes that it's overwhelming! One of my friends was stranded in her home, her yard a big lake around her, but her home set high enough on the foundation not to be flooded. Somehow, she still had power! Another friend & her family also had to move to a hotel because she couldn't get home without wading or boating. Many of her neighbors experienced devastating losses. Another friend of mine in a different neighborhood, trying to raise spirits, posted photos on FaceBook of her husband and son kayaking on the lake adjoining her property, which covered the lower stretch of their driveway and the road just a few feet from their house. Some of her neighbors were flooded out of their homes, and one neighbor's house is still on an island above the water. Alligator lake is higher than it's ever been since we bought our house 2-1/2 years ago. The grasses are completely underwater, without even tips showing...I expect we'll see a late algae bloom now that the lake is nearly back to where it should be. I don't know the official rainfall count, but according to my husband it was definitely over 20" for the total event in my zone of the state.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  CarolinaGirl on 7/2/2012, 12:46 pm

Well mine is still going pretty well... none of my green bean squares really did well so will try a different variety next time. Sweet potato vines are still going.. although I've had some issues with Japanese beetles on them (ugh!). Still pulling sweet 100 tomatoes off daily (that don't even make it inside if hubby is out there)... and have three german queen tomatoes on that plant.. still green though.
My one and only bell pepper off the two plants I bought.. (Lowe's still had some the other day so may buy two more and see what happens)

Sunflower finally opened up during the blazing heat!

Corn!!

I've got two cantaloupes about this size:

Finally a survivor in the Watermelons:

Carrots... I'm thinking I should probably pull them at this point before they get super woody in the heat:
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/3/2012, 1:00 am

Looks great to me CG! It seems strange how your peppers are not doing so well, yet mine are going bonkers. I only have one bell pepper, and if it hadn't been attacked by deer it would've had a ton of fruit on it ready to harvest around now. As it is, only two of those survived. My cayenne peppers have tons of fruits all over the place, and I cut a few off every week, with expectation of having some much heavier crops coming up real soon.

I wanted to post this photo of my friend's neighborhood. This has never come close to happening there in the near decade they've lived in the house just feet from where that water begins. affraid affraid affraid affraid This looks like a hundred-year flood to me. The city and county are having to take pumps to neighborhoods like this, to send the water to a place where it will go into a stream or river so people can get back to their houses and try to salvage something, get insurance adjusters out, etc.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  Don T on 7/3/2012, 10:29 am

First of all, I feel for those effected by the rain and floods in Florida. I was flooded once and it took me a year to get my life straight again. Insurance is nice but a big pain y'all know where.

As for my garden, I, meaning my grandsons, are harvesting peppers, cherry tomatoes, and today a few beans. The garden is well beaten down with the heat. My corn, although 6 ft. tall has not produced an ear yet. I probably did not water enough. I was hesitant because usually we get those afternoon thunder storms with plenty of rain. I didn't want to drown out the garden. Instead, we are in a drought. no rain at all in a few weeks.

My first eggplant was doing great and then over night the plant died. I do have two other Black Beauties and one has a young eggplant growing now. The White Star eggplant has one fruit that is about 1/4 grown.

Cucumbers have mostly played out. I do have a couple growing now but most female blossoms die even though hand pollenating.

Cherry tomatoes, both varieties are in the best part of the harvest. There are at least a dozen ready for the grandkids to pick this afternoon.

The Sweet Baby Watermelons I got for Father's Day are growing well but no female blossoms yet. There are a few male blossoms though.

It is not as enjoyable as it was a month ago to sit on the patio overlooking the garden. Even with the ceiling fans it is still to hot to enjoy it. I am looking forward to the fall. I don't like hot weather. Also deer season is less than 100 days away That is my time of year. Also I can plant the winter garden. I need to get started on my SFG for the camp. I will need those onions to go with the deer meat. (Now if that ain't counting your chickens before they hatch! Ha! Ha!)
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  Don T on 7/3/2012, 2:11 pm

I spoke to soon when I said that my corn had no ears. They are just starting to apear.


Black Beauty Eggplant

White Star Eggplant

Cucumber and Sunflower

Sweet Baby Watermelons

Pineapple plant

Thai Hot Peppers (Second Batch)

Tobasco Peppers
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  Don T on 7/3/2012, 2:19 pm

Chives


Goliath Jalapeno's

Mandarin Bell Pepper


Banana Peppers


Trees that I started this year to be planted on the land. Mostly Sawtooth Oaks but one Nutall Oak, one Honey Locust, and three Celeste Fig Trees

Santa Rosa Plum is doing very well for planting it this year.


Golden Plum is not doing so well but I still have hope for it. I want to graft the two trees together to make a LSU Plum Tree (purple and gold)


Pineapple Pear Tree to be planted on the land this fall when the rainy season starts.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  elliephant on 7/3/2012, 8:45 pm

Just got back from a week in California for my grandmother's memorial service. DH was at home taking care of the kids and garden. Both survived, but...well, you know Laughing

Went out tonight with clippers in hand and disposed of a bunch of HUGE okra. I'd pruned my cukes way back before I left and clipped off all the babies, so I only came back to one massive one I'd missed. My bell peppers finally ripened, so I've got about a dozen yellow and red bells with more on the way...much better harvest than I've ever had. One tromboncino got to the winter stage. It looks like he wasn't watering quite enough and then we got a big downpour early in the week, so lots of split current tomatoes. Malabar spinach is taking over the world.

The saddest thing is that one of the Golden Midget melons split and had bugs enjoying it. I brought in the other and am trying to decide about the regular small melon, since it doesn't change color to let me know it is done.

Herbs are out of control and the oregano that mysteriously up and browned and died right before I left (practically overnight) has new growth.

Overall, I find myself wanting to pull some more plants and get ready for fall planting. I want to get my tomato seeds planted ASAP. I would have done it right before I left, but didn't want DH to have seedlings to baby. Quite pleased with how well my garden is doing this year. Guess I've figured out a few things in the past 3 years.

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/3/2012, 9:24 pm

@ Elliephant: I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing. I hope your family was able to celebrate her life in a way that helped you all feel her honored. Sounds like your garden is doing better than in previous years despite the abuses it has had to endure. That must feel really good.

@ Don: Everything looks really good to me! Perhaps the one tree is a bit yellowed, but you had to pull it through an infestation justt when the heat was hitting the worst, and I suspecr it will green up in the fall.

As for me, I don't like going outside any more, now that the humidity is so overwhelming. As soon as you open the door, you get hit with a blast of heat and humidity that steams your glasses and makes the sweat pop out all over in moments. The ceiling fan helps only if you're directly beneath it and it's going full-tilt. Yep, it's July in the deep south! So. If I want to avoid it, I figure that my plants certainly do not enjoy it either. I feel fortunate that my garden has done as well as it has, with this being my first time growing the vast majority of what I tried, after a late planting, in a totally new gardening zone for me. cheers
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  jeffhbell on 7/5/2012, 9:50 am

TS Debbie took a toll on my tomato plants. Most of the fruit ended up splitting and getting bugs. I simply planted too late.

Eggplant is still doing well and producing fruit.

Planning for fall. Going to try a few new things. Potatoes sound fun. Any other suggestions for fall planting (September)?
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  camprn on 7/5/2012, 10:08 am

Maybe a second planting of tomatoes? Very Happy

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/5/2012, 2:23 pm

Fall and spring are our best gardening times, and some of you guys can grow spring & fall crops right through the winter. My fall planting time is August-October, but farther south I think it's Sptember-November, and those of you at the farthest southern zones can plant right through winter. I plan to plant tomatoes, corn, summer squash (now that I know how to keep SVB away), & carrots. For my winter garden I want to plant onions, garlic, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I will keep my cayenne peppers going as long as possible, since I can dry and string them, and will keep my cucumber & Seminole pumpkins growing until they're done, too.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  littlejo on 7/5/2012, 11:02 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:Fall and spring are our best gardening times, and some of you guys can grow spring & fall crops right through the winter. My fall planting time is August-October, but farther south I think it's Sptember-November, and those of you at the farthest southern zones can plant right through winter. I plan to plant tomatoes, corn, summer squash (now that I know how to keep SVB away), & carrots. For my winter garden I want to plant onions, garlic, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach. I will keep my cayenne peppers going as long as possible, since I can dry and string them, and will keep my cucumber & Seminole pumpkins growing until they're done, too.

I know I'm not in your region and am reading to see if any hint will come my way. I've had snails, milipedes, potato beetles, Japanese beetles, stink bug, squash bugs, aphids, cuke bugs and squash vine borers. I see that you have 'learned' how not to have svb. Did I miss this? Can you share or point me in the direction of the solution? Thanks, Jo
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dumb luck

Post  acara on 7/7/2012, 6:24 pm

I have no idea how & if you told me I'd be harvesting some of this stuff after almost 30 days of rain & in the middle of July ... I'd have called you crazy ....



The cherry tom's and peppers are normal fare for this time of year ... but Beans & Cherokee Chocolates ... who-wudda-thunk tongue
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  elliephant on 7/7/2012, 6:28 pm

I'm amazed you've harvested anything non-aquatic, Acara!

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/10/2012, 11:41 pm

@littlejo wrote:I know I'm not in your region and am reading to see if any hint will come my way. I've had snails, milipedes, potato beetles, Japanese beetles, stink bug, squash bugs, aphids, cuke bugs and squash vine borers. I see that you have 'learned' how not to have svb. Did I miss this? Can you share or point me in the direction of the solution? Thanks, Jo
Jo, I learned to spray with BT every week. Our growin gseason is so long you can't avoid SVB without that organic treatment.
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Acara's dumb luck

Post  givvmistamps on 7/10/2012, 11:45 pm

Wow Acara, I think I'm jealous! All I'm harvestimg now is basil & peppers now.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  Don T on 7/11/2012, 9:28 am

I have watermelons setting fruit. Don't know if they will make it but these are the minature variety called "Sweet Baby". Pulled up my beans. Corn has ears but looks terrible. Cherry tomatoes putting out more fruit than my wife and grandson eat. Cukes not setting much fruit but every now and then one makes it.

We ate a white star eggplant the other night. Also have a couple of Nlack Beauties on the bush.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  givvmistamps on 7/12/2012, 4:57 pm

My beans are finished for the season. My 5-year-old helped shell them and we got about a soup-bowl full of dried beans from the 4 plants. He was so proud of helping! Not a bad harvest given the problems we had. Very Happy

Debby managed to do in most of my tomatoes, as well as my cucumber plant. Oh well, I'll plant something else there. Just found out folks in Gainesville are still planting melons, so I'm thinking of putting a couple seeds out for watermelons & cantaloupes when we plant next week.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  walshevak on 7/14/2012, 12:22 am

Probably almost time to start the fall garden. You have plenty of grow time left before the really short days of winter. And you are usually pretty frost free.

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  KDeus on 7/15/2012, 11:04 am

My beds are still going strong except for the cukes which I lost to pickle worms and downy mildew. I planted a second planting of yellow squash and zukes (3 of each) after the first planting was lost to SVB. The second set is producing well on 1 of each plant - the other two of each I lost due to the heavy rains from TS Debby. Tomatoes are going gangbusters, herb garden is completely full and lush, lots of eggplants, yellow peppers, green peppers, mini bells, cayenne, tobasco, and datils, onions are all growing well. Sunflowers are tall and beautiful, and the tomatillo has tons of flowers and fruits in early stages. My beds weren't ready in time to plant the beans or watermelon so I never planted them, but will plant the beans in the fall.

I have to say that building the watering grid was one of the best decisions I made for my beds. In this heat, running it once or twice a day is perfect and with the occasional afternoon rains helps to save a bit on the electric bill.

Just placed my order for fall seeds and can't wait to get those going in the upcoming month!
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  NAR56 on 7/15/2012, 7:52 pm

I just made my 2nd harvest of Sweet Basil. My wife just made fresh pesto with it and it smells so good. I started my pumpkins and going to try corn as well. We shall see how it goes or grows Laughing. Tomatoes and Bell peppers are doing OK, but this heat is hard on them.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  elliephant on 7/17/2012, 12:22 pm

Well, I was already pulling my cukes and squash due to a terrible whitefly infestation and today I discovered I also had pickleworms. I really needed to make room in my beds for fall crops, anyway. I always wish I'd planted my fall crops earlier. It seems crazy to plant broccoli and cauliflower in this heat, but I've seen friends with nice big plants in October, ready to start producing as soon as it cools off. I've always planted mine around October and then had them struggle to produce before the heat starts causing them to flower in March. I think I'll succession plant this year and see which ones do best.

Oh, and I didn't quite pull all my squash. When I was ripping out the tromboncino I found that it had rooted at a couple of places outside the box where I'd let it roam. Those sections were tons healthier looking, so I'm going to let them be for now and see how they do.

My late plantings of beans never produced. They would flower and make tiny beans, but never really grow after that. Pulled them today. Hoping they put some nitrogen into the soil.

The next few weeks I am going to concentrate on cleaning up and replenishing the soil.

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  ksbmom on 7/17/2012, 5:58 pm

We've had so much rain here the last few weeks I haven't been able to do much out in the gardens. That, and well, when it's this hot, I don't like to go out of the house! The last two mornings I went out early to rescue the beds from the grass and weeds that had taken over and discovered (to my amazement) LOTS of eggplants and a basil that was almost as tall as I am. I uncovered some bush beans that I thought had shrivelled up and died - putting out new flowers and some beans! I pulled them up anyway and fed the leaves to the goose who was very grateful. Laughing The okra plants are huge and loaded with fruit (I keep picking them and putting them in the fridge where they stay until I throw them out -- I don't like okra! It was hubby's idea to plant them).

Other than that, not much going on in my gardens. My husband's hot pepper bed is doing well, though. He got his first habanero this weekend and lots of jalepenos.

I did start planting tomato seeds in plastic cups for planting in late August/early September. I'll try to remember to label ALL of them this year! tongue We had lots of mystery tomatoes this summer.

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  Don T on 7/18/2012, 11:47 am

Well the spring garden getting a late start had some disapointments and some pretty good growth

The biggest failure was the corn. I had 46 stalks in my garden and it took forever for them to make ears. Then the ears opened up to show the kernels and stopped growing. I have never seen that happen before. I have pulled them up. No harvest at all from them.

The eggplants started making fruit and then the leaves died. This could have been from the large amount of rain we had. The garden stayed saturated. There was no water being held other than what was being held in the Mel's mix, but it never had a chance to dry a little.

Bell peppers were not a success although I did harvest a few small ones. I knew this from the beginning because of the late panting.

Cherry tomatoes were a big success but are coming to and end now. We harvested 65 of them yesterday. I was under the impression that Sweet 100's were normal size tomatoes and they turned out to be cherry tomatoes. So, we did not have any normal sized tomatoes this year. The fall plants will be at the nursery in two weeks.

Cucumbers had stopped for a while but have started back better then ever. This was my biggest success because everyone loves them. I even had to start buying some at the store to supplement our hunger for them.

The Sweet baby watermelons have some small melons on them that we watch every day for growth. The largest is a little smaller than a baseball now.

I have planted some bell pepper seeds and transplanted 5 of them to the squares where the corn was removed. I also planted cantaloupe in several of the squares. Shallot sets have come in at the nursery so I bought some with intentions of planting in a couple of months but the lady at the nursery said that I could pant them now. I planted about half of them to try it out. This is my main harvest for the winter. I use them in everything (almost).

My okra is thin and tall and the first buds are showing up. I moved some baby strawberry plants yesterday and set one new runner to start growing in a little cup.

Thai hot peppers, Tobasco peppers, Banana peppers, and Jalapenos are fair producers this year.

I am looking forward to the fall garden and have learned a lot about what I want to plant in next year's spring garden. Not too bad for a first try.
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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

Post  walshevak on 7/18/2012, 9:38 pm

Don, I think you did well for a first timer.

Kay

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Re: Coastal & Tropical South: What's surviving the July heat?

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