The “Low-Light Factor”

The heat has caught up with us rendering most of my spring vegetable plants fodder for the compost pile.

I ripped all the pea vines down from their trellis and once again have a blank slate.


What a pitiful sight to have an empty trellis in June. (Please disregard the fungus riddled beet greens on the left…)

It is much harder to start seeds during summer’s fiercesome heat, so I took Alan’s advice from Lake Avenue Farm and began the seeds in flats. When they are a respectable size, I will transplant them into the garden.

I probably should have let these beans get bigger before I transplanted them, but the empty trellis just looked so sad.
Radish seedlings will hopefully be good companion plants in front of the beans.

Our tomatoes are coming along well. I don’t see any sign of disease. They have put on impressive height and are starting to fruit. I tied them all down the other day before a storm swept through and discovered that the chipmunks are already making off with the green fruits. Last year, we grew twelve tomato plants: they took half, and we salvaged the rest. I found partially eaten tomatoes discarded around the garden. They didn’t even finish what they’d stolen before they helped themselves to more. Infuriating.

Here are my babies that I’m going to plant after they bulk up a bit.

I received a horticulture newsletter from John Scheepers Garden Seeds this week. It was full of useful information about planting at this time of year. They recommend when you pull out a crop that is finished, replenish the soil with compost before replanting the area. That sounds like good advice. I sprinkle fertilizer around the plantings but didn’t think to refreshen the soil.

For mid summer planting, they had a long list of recommendations: Bush Beans, short-vine Peas, Swiss Chard, Broccolli, Kale, Scallions, and heat resistant varieties of Lettuces.

The trick is to keep the little seedlings from drying out. I like to water first thing in the morning and check on them late in the day.

The newsletter also said that summer planted crops grow more slowly than their spring bedfellows because of the shortening days.
Oh my gosh, this was bad news… We’re already past the summer solstice and the summer days are shortening!
I’m only just up to speed that it is summer. I hadn’t realized that the growth of anything I plant now will be compromised by less daylight.
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news. This is what John Scheepers says, “Summer-planted crops typically mature more slowly than spring-planted crops (as the days shorten, plant growth slows). Using the days-to-maturity figure on the seed packet, add an extra 14-days as a “low-light factor”.”
Oh, I really don’t want to talk about the “low-light factor”.

So, I’m pulling out all my seed packets and heading out to the garden to to fill all the empty spaces before it is too late.
And I’ll avoid any of the areas where the “low-light factor” will be especially ruinous.

Can someone please tell me where all the butterflies are?

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