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Summer Work in the Garden

When it gets hot here in Arizona, one may wonder, whatever does one do in the Garden? It’s almost too hot and unbearable to be outside in Phoenix, Arizona. Below I will explain some vegetables that actually survive this heat with some extra water, love, and shade. Summer work involves prepping your garden beds for the Fall.  This down time should be taken advantage of, and here at The Jewel of Encanto Farm (JEF), we’ve been busy working away.

 

When you’re a die hard gardener and need some plants to tend to in this 110 plus degree heat, there’s a handful of veggies that will grow.  

Currently here at JEF in the beginning of September we have basil, zucchini, butternut squash, pumpkins, cucumber, cantaloupe melons and yard long green beans. Other melon and squash/zucchini varieties will grow throughout the summer as well.  Arugula, a spicy leafy green which makes great additions to salads and sandwiches will grow in the Summer.  Don’t forget about your fried or pickled Okra, as okra will grow so tall and fierce during this heat.  Luffa and gourds are another fun crop to grow for some future crafty days.

 

These plants I listed above will still need some tender care in this heat. Extra water is always handy, but just remember that most all of these plants will wilt in the afternoon and look half dead. Just as long as if the soil is moist, the plants will bounce right back and retain vigor when it cools a little at night.  Shade cloth also can help your plants survive the heat, just make sure the cloth is up high enough so the material is not touching and burning your plants from residual heat.  If your plant starts blooming at the end of July or in August it will not likely set fruit due to the heat.  When the temperature is above 110 degrees it’s too hot for plants to be able to set the fruit. Tell me what you’re growing in your garden in this heat!

While a few of our beds are occupied the majority of our gardens are being prepped for the Fall Garden.  We’ve been tending to the soil and working on our own compost mix.  This next week we will be adding in compost, fish poop, and potting soil into our beds. We will be working the soil and making it rich, fertile and nicely aerated for our Fall garden starts.  

This is also a nice time of the year to re-evaluate, and fix your irrigation system.  Consider what has and what hasn’t worked with your water. Are you watering with sprinklers? Perhaps it’s best to consider a drip system directly at the soil and root zone.  Some of our drip heads at JEF haven’t worked well and we have bought new low spray heads to see how they’ll do this season. Check each control box and drip zone for leaks and make sure everything is properly working as well.

 

Planning the Garden for the Fall crops is one of the most exciting events here at JEF.  We like to dream big and think of all the possibilities of what we can grow. Each garden bed has been drawn up and a plan for what goes where is hanging on our garage door.  Is there a new variety or vegetable you will be trying this year?

Near the end of the Summer, it’s time to start your own vegetable transplants.  We’ve had some starts growing for a month now. It’s been too hot to transplant them but usually there are some starts you can transplant September 1st through the 15th. You can start any type of vegetable or fruit inside just as long as if it’s not a root crop.  Make sure you have plenty of light or the plants will get leggy before you’re able to transplant them. Starting plants indoor can give you a head start in your Fall garden.


There is much work to be done in the Summer for our gardens. Keeping plants alive can be a challenge but those summer crops are so rewarding. Preparing for the Fall can be key to your future success in the Garden. Remember this heat is temporary and your garden will soon be thriving if you take the time to evaluate your garden and make some changes over the Summer.

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