Summer Oh Summer O How I Love (and hate) Thee!
Summer Oh Summer this fleeting time
I am so affected it makes me want to rhyme
My garden skills spent the winter locked in a closet
Now they are working and flowing like a trusty faucet
Each season my skills are greeted with a new challenge or test
Cold, Sun, Rain, Moose, Mold or some new pest
I do tend to love thee, Summer, even with these trials
Although it involves me constantly refining my knowledge files
A part of me always looks forward to the cold and the snows
It means I survived the yearly trials and foes
Despite these barriers my love for you grows
And I greet you each spring fresh as a rose!
Well, I do have to apologize but sometimes the summer challenges just cause me to rhyme (and not very well for that matter!). I don’t know about you but we have been seeing some strange trends this summer that I have not seen for several years. I have noticed most of the gardens around town seem to be several weeks behind the normal growth pattern for this time of year. Most of the plants I have been watching just sat in June and didn’t really take off until mid-July. A lot of the gardeners I have talked to have noticed a similar trend. Soil temperatures are showing below normal readings although the day temperatures have been in the normal range and we have had some downright beautiful days. These thoughts bring me to my topic of seasonal variability and plant growth.
Every year is different. Every plant is different for that matter too. You can do the exact same thing on two different years and get two different results. You can put two identical plants in the same location and have two completely different plants by the end of the growing season. It is hard to explain the reasons behind what happens and why but there are several key factors you can check.
Light- Has it been sunny or cloudy? Depending on if a plant is a sun or shade plant will determine what you are looking for. If you are seeing a bleached look to the plant; it is getting too much sun too fast. If you are seeing a weak and stunted look; it may not be getting enough sun.
Water – Rainfall has a lot to do with this issue. Last summer we saw too many plants that just rotted out from staying too wet thanks to our month of rain. Fortunately our rain this summer has come in spurts so it has given the plants a chance to dry out.
Fertilizer – Too little fertilizer causes slower growth and reduced flower production. If it is a severe deficiency it can cause discoloration of the leaves. Too much fertilizer will kill your plants faster than Roundup so be careful to follow directions.
Temperature – It seems like the only temperature issue we have to deal with is too cold. It never gets too hot for our plants since we hardly ever break 80 degrees. These cooler temperatures will cause some plants to stop growing until they deem the temperature to be warm enough for their needs.
Talk – All plants respond better to a little extra love and attention. Our secret is that we are constantly talking to the plants as we are weeding and dead heading. It does wonders for the plants although we have had several calls from concerned citizens about people talking to themselves….