Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Casualty of the Heat and the 1st Rooftop Vegetable Harvest of 2012

Wow! Not even halfway through July and I've already lost one vegetable variety to the heat. I'm afraid to find out what the rest of the season will bring.

Not all is bad in the garden however, 4 more melons have appeared on the Hakucho Hybrid plants, so the total is now 8 melons between 3 plants.

Some of the melons were hanging freely, swaying in the wind, so I gave them hammocks to support their growing weight. The hammocks are just re-purposed netting from onion bags.

Black cherry tomatoes finally changing color.

The Flexum Hybrid pepper plants, the ones in the container on the left, apparently do not like the hot rooftop environment. At first glance they look very similar to the Giant Aconcagua pepper plants on the right, closer inspection however reveals startling differences.

In the photo above, the Flexum Hybrid plant has several full size peppers on the plant, but no smaller fruit. In the photo below, the Giant Aconcagua plant has several fruits in a range of sizes and in various stages of growth.

The Flexum plants are also missing flowers. There should be clusters of flower blossoms, pollinated and getting ready to form new fruit, like the photo above of a Giant Aconcagua plant.

Why are there no smaller fruits or blossoms on the Flexum Hybrid plants? It's because once temperatures reached the 90's and stayed in the 90's for several days the Flexum plants dropped ALL of their blossoms. Every single one! Even the smaller fruits, the ones that did not reach close full size before the heatwave arrived, shriveled up and fell off. The last time I counted there were over 20 fruits in development, now only 12 are left. Boo!

Now that the weather has cooled down I see that the plants are forming new flowers, but there's no guarantee that the weather will stay cool enough, long enough, for the flowers to bloom, pollinate and set fruit. Even if new fruit does form they would still need enough time to grow to a large enough size so that they won't drop off when the next heatwave hits. How long does it take for a pepper flower to bloom, pollinate, set fruit and then have that fruit grow to almost full size? 6-7 weeks? I sincerely doubt it'll be 6 weeks until the next heatwave.

I think these will be the only peppers I'll harvest from these plants. Oh well, win some lose some, at least the Giant Aconcagua peppers are doing great.

The Summertime Green tomato plants in the 26 gallon tote have finally grown past the second rung of their cage. The aphids are still there, but the regular blasts of water I give the plants keep their numbers in check.

A Pingtung Long eggplant ready for harvest.

The Summertime Green tomato plant in the Garden Patch Grow Box on the left has reached the third rung of its cage. The Mountain Magic tomato plant in the Garden Patch Grow Box on the right is almost taller than its cage. I think I might cut off the growing tip so that the plant can focus on putting out side shoots instead growing in height.

The Mountain Magic plant dropped a few blossoms during the hottest part of the heatwave, but there are several new flower clusters already taking their place.

Mountain Magic tomatoes ready for harvest.

The first tomatoes off a plant are always rather blah in flavor so I'll reserve my judgement until after a couple harvests, but I did taste hints of potential. The peppers were nowhere near sweet, but I wanted something crunchy to munch on so I harvested the largest ones. Beats giving in and buying a bag of chips!

How is your garden handling the heat?

Cherry Tomato (Black): 4.75 ounces

Eggplant (Pingtung Long): 4.63 ounces

Pepper (Giant Aconcagua): 6.13 ounces

Tomato (Mountain Magic): 6.51 ounces

This Harvest: 1 pound, 6.02 ounces

Running Weight Total 2012: 1 pound, 10.12 ounces

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1 comment:

  1. What a great enterprise. You might consider "shade cloth", we use it at greenhouse and for growing out more tender perennials (ferns, hostas, young pines, etc), there are different grades (25% 50%, and so on. Since it is permeable, it won't act as a sail and blow away.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!