Halfway through what may be the coldest June on record, my garden has stalled. Well, not everything; my cabbage, broccoli, radish and other cool weather crops are very happy and lush with all the liquid sunshine they’ve had.
I’m pretty worried about the heat loving crops though, not that I can do anything about it! The tomatoes and peppers in my greenhouse are okay, but the outdoor tomatoes are shivering and literally turning purple from the cold temperatures. The pumpkin plants I put out a couple of weeks ago are exactly the same size that they were when I transplanted them, and don’t even ask about the watermelon and canteloupe…
Okay, you can ask. Growing melons is always a bit of a gamble around here. We barely get enough heat in a good year, and I always recommend that people plant melons in a hot spot (or inside a greenhouse) to improve the chances of producing and ripening the sweet fruit. Some years it just doesn’t work, and for that reason I don’t always give space in my garden to melons.
This year I was optimistic, after all, last year was so crappy that I figured we deserve a good hot summer. Plus, I found some old packages of cantaloupe and melon seeds and decided to see if they were still viable. I haven’t grown melons since we moved to this house so they are at least 4 or 5 years old. I planted a few in pots in the greenhouse and the rest outside. Just when I had given up on them – up they popped! The cantaloupe I planted outside were promptly eaten by something but the watermelons are clustered in a little row, shivering in the cold. There are far more little watermelon seedlings than I have room for, so I’ll probably unearth a few and give them away, but I don’t know if they will have time to produce fruit this year – the weather had better smarten up quickly!
My sweet corn is also rather sad. I suspect that, like last year’s initial planting of corn, the plants will be stunted and unproductive. I suppose I should have waited longer before transplanting my starts from the greenhouse, but I did wait until June! That should have been late enough, but just a few days ago we had overnight temperatures down to 5C, well below average, and we’ve been enjoying daytime highs 4 or 5 degrees below the historical average on a regular basis this June – that’s just nuts!
My strawberries are just beginning to ripen and they need some sun or they will be tasteless watery blobs of mold, unfit for human consumption, in which case I may as well take the dog fence down and let Amber eat her fill. Then maybe she’ll leave my other crops alone. The other day she pulled a big fat radish out of the garden and was merrily crunching up the root when I caught her… anybody want a voracious old yellow labrador retriever? A walking stomach, she is!
The forecast for the next few days is for semi-springlike weather, with sunny periods and highs of 19C – WooHoo! Hopefully it’s the beginning of a nice hot summer, rather than the coldest June on record!