And I don’t mean as in “trends” (because gardening is ALWAYS in style :)) but temperature. I mean, it’s seriously hot out there, dehydration worthy heat stroke-inducing hot. Gardening in Florida during July and August is not for the meek, the weak or those otherwise interested in vacation. Now this isn’t to say there aren’t plants that will tolerate it because there are–plenty! Okra, peanuts and peppers love the heat. Sweet potatoes and sunflowers soak up the sun like candy, but me?
Not so much. I have to admit, summer is not my favorite time in the garden. I still plant and grow, but it’s the weeds that really have me singing the blues. They’re everywhere. It rains, they cheer. It doesn’t rain, they hold tight until it does, and here in Florida, they won’t have long to wait. It’s a cycle. Reliable, predictable and important to note. Why?
It’s essential to know your limitations. I for one have decided to dial back on my summer garden. I hate to do it. It feels like I’m quitting–and I’m no quitter–but at some point you have to accept reality. Same as the aches and pains I’ve come to accept as part of the aging process, the temperature outdoors this time of year is plain too hot for me to enjoy the process. Sure I could wake up and head out early to beat the heat, but that would interfere with my coffee time. Course I could always wait until dusk, but the kids tend to get hungry around then and I’m on dinner duty.
Mind you I’m still gardening. I have sunflowers and sweet potatoes in the ground, peanuts and the remnants of my peppers, but next year? I might cut my garden back early. Remember that handy-dandy black paper I told you about? It’s AWESOME for preventing weeds (and child weed warrior mutiny). Plus, the paper does double-duty as an underground insect repellent. Yep, next year I plan to have one big “solar oven” out back during the months of July and August, save for my sweet potato section. I can’t do without sweet potato pie!
I’ll begin gardening again mid-August, planting my pumpkins, my fall tomatoes. I’ll focus on getting those Big Max Jack-o-lantern pumpkins ready in time for carving, my new Seminole pumpkins ready for baking.
Fall gardening is more pleasant. Once September sets in, I’ll be here, we’ll be back on a schedule… I’m rationalizing, I know, but I’m also facing facts. Summer is hot. Summer is for vacation. Now that fall is on the horizon, I’m looking forward to getting back in action! Something new this year, I’ll be trying my hand at wheatgrass. I keep hearing so much about it, I thought I’d like to try growing some of my own. A little preventative measure, if you will. I’m also going to consider some new varieties of old favorites, sort of like my red okra experiment. It worked so let’s try some more!
Are you in? I’d love to hear your suggestions for some new and improved varietals!