By now your gardens should be planted and sprouting and growing! Summer crops got planted throughout May and June is now a month where all of us can take a big deep breathe and relax a bit as we wait for crops to come in. This also gives us time to plan for fall – another big time of year for gardeners. Tree fruit and edible perennials (artichoke, mustard plants, tea plants, etc) can be planted this fall – the last window to plant before spring.
July is the month notoriously dedicated to tomato staking and supports. I’m not a fan of tomato cages, but instead I build a support system of bamboo in my tomato beds. It’s cheap and uber-efficient. These are also very important months for watering. Whilst we typically consider July & August to be the hottest months (and they are!), days are actually getting shorter and plants will gradually need less and less watering.
Even if you’re having cooler temps and cloud-covered skies, it’s important to remember good watering practices. Namely, seed beds (those areas planted with seed) will need a constant misting so the soil stays moist and seeds are able to germinate. That means twice a day watering may be beneficial. Keep an eye on the seed beds and make sure they don’t go dry for extended periods of time (no more than 12 hours is perfect). This ensures germination!
For heat-lovers, especially tomato plants, it’s smart to water in the morning before you leave for work. Watering in the morning leaves time for plants to soak it up before the heat of day and evaporation take over. Morning water also prevents a drop in soil temperature (which happens when watering in the evening) which the heat-lovers do not appreciate. You wouldn’t like to go to sit outside in wet socks at night time, would you? Same, same.
Follow these small steps to insure a greater harvest later in the summer!
Consolidation of our national seed industry can be found here, from a professor in Michigan. Philip Howard, Assistant Professor at MSU put this together. Pretty rockin’ graph, if you ask me.
The GMO debate is a big one.
And I’m not sure what all the answers are (yet), so on this BIG debate I’m going with my gut and urging my politicians, peers, colleagues, family – anyone who will listen – to have a voice in the BIG debate that will change the future of our food supply. Monsanto owns a lot of this worlds seed. Gates Foundation does work in Africa in support of GMOs, because they think it’s going to solve the hunger crisis. I don’t know if these things are ultimately good or bad, but I don’t think that creating plants that are immune to bugs seems wise, nor do I think that feeding a world that is overpopulated is the answer to th global food shortage. What I do know, however, is that I don’t want people playing with the genetics of anything I take into my body as nourishment. As food to fuel me. Period.
Let’s consider a scientific fascination of mine, natural selection. I’m giving a good ol’ hey-I-can-relate-to-this-example. We humans acclimate to various climatic conditions based on where we live. People in Florida get more cold in the NY chill than NYers. People in Arizona wear long sleeves when it’s 78 degrees in Seattle and so on and so forth. I’ve noticed my own ‘natural selection’ of sorts in the past three years that I’ve been gardening. Used to be that I’d get hot in minutes, and I could often be found in a tank top and skirt in my gardens. This year, I work in a long sleeve button down shirt with long pants. Not because I’m cold, necessarily, but because I’ve acclimated. My body has adjusted to my conditions. I am learning how to survive successfully given my environment.
When you remove that natural environmental selection and instead manually and intentionally manipulate an organism to fit an environment, I believe there is a problem. Nature will always take it’s course. Molten rock finds it’s way out of a volcano by cracking the earths crust. That is a natural circle and one we’ve come to accept. No one goes around trying to ‘cap’ mountains. Nature has it’s way. When you start experimenting with genetics of anything, the word “natural” gets removed from the equation. It’s no longer a natural selection. It’s just “selection”.A selection of which I want no part, thankyouverymuch.
USE YOUR VOICE and BE HEARD.
Tell the USDA that GMO contamination of ORGANICS is not acceptable!