Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Growing Challenge #9: Harsh lessons

In the time since I repotted, things have not been going so hot in my garden. Well, in truth, it's been too hot, which is probably why everything is dying. The fact that all the animals seem to remember my delicious garden from last year and are visiting earlier means that anything that hasn't died from the heat gets eaten. Radishes? All gone. Peppers? Withered. A couple of the tomatoes I started from seed survived, but only in the shadier places in the garden.

If I were going to be staying in San Diego, this would be a valuable lesson for me, but since I'm not I'll just share it with you all with the hope that it will help out someone else.

The lesson:
Start seeds early. Really early. You want them to be large enough to plant by February or so, when our tiny rainy winter ends. By the time April rolls around, it's pretty hot if you're not living right on the coast, so you want the plants to be big enough so that they can tolerate the heat.

I wound up picking up some (larger) plants while I was at Target today, because I still want to grow something, even if I didn't grow it from seed. Hopefully these ones will do a little better than my smaller plants did. I'm also thinking of planting some radishes along the margins of some of my planters. Assuming they're not eaten, they should be ready to harvest before the tomatoes and peppers get too big.


Melinda said...

Bummer!!!!! I'm so sorry. Can you put up a chicken wire fence around the radishes and things that get eaten? Hardening off will be really important for your seedlings, too. They are probably very used to moist, controlled conditions, so they may need quite a bit of hardening off before they remain in the dry heat.

Also, here in Geyserville we planted out in May and June last year (in the 90s and 100s). I had to set up shade cloth and burlap over the new seedlings, as it was definitely too hot without.

I hope this doesn't make you give up on growing from seed!

Teacher Anonymous said...

No, I'm not giving up. This was just what we in the education business call a "teachable moment."