gabriola garden

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Veg Garden Soaks Up the Sun, Gets Thirsty

The North American heatwave is alive and well on Gabriola. Today’s temperatures inland almost reached 40 degrees Celsius (104° F). Because we’re closer to the ocean, our temps were a bit lower, but still well into the nineties Fahrenheit.

I know that Floridians and Californians are used to such extremes, but this is Canada, the land of igloos and snowshoes and minus forty degree winters. We prefer to cook on our barbecues and not roast ourselves on the beach.

My vegetable garden looked parched in the noonday sun. I had gotten up at six AM to use a soaker hose but by twelve the soil around my Tomatoes, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Beans, Peas and Peppers looked like drought had set in.

I spray with Scorpion Juice early in the day, to keep Rose diseases such as Black Spot at bay. Also to prevent a whole array of bacterial, fungal, and viral infestations that plague our garden on a regular basis.

Scorpion Juice imparts induced systemic resistance to the plants, enabling them to ward off these pathogens through efficient use of their own immune systems. This product tricks the plant into thinking that a parasitic invasion is taking place, causing the immune system to kick into high gear.

I listen to my favorite radio station while I’m working. Earlier today, a gardening expert was talking about the importance of efficient watering. He emphasized that it is better to water the roots of your plants, rather than the foliage, since water on the leaves can cause trouble.

If you get water droplets on your leaves during the day when the sun is hot, they can act as tiny prisms concentrating the heat of the sun in certain spots and causing sections of your leaves to go brown. Ditto for flowers.

Water on your foliage at night doesn’t give them enough time to dry off before the cooler temps set in, and the result could be fungal infestation. For this very reason it is much better to get up early and give your plants a chance to dry off during the day.

If you water your plants too liberally on a continuous basis, you are actually encouraging vegetative growth at the expense of flowering. Conversely, if you deny the plant adequate water for a short time, it tends to go into stress mode (“I’m going to die so I better go into my reproductive mode and make flowers and seeds”).

Also, it is a good idea to water conservatively, since for the last few summers we’ve had a water shortage. Islands seem to have on ongoing problem with lack of fresh water. Kind of ironic, when you consider that we’re surrounded by water.

Of course, Sara and I don’t just irrigate, we fertigate our garden. By mxing up a batch of nutrients, supplements, and root colonizers on a weekly basis, we ensure that our flowers and vegetables receive the proper nourishment that they require in order to produce outstanding blooms and fruits-vegetables.

I use the word “fruit” in the sense that a pepper is the fruit of the Pepper plant, a tomato is the fruit of the Tomato plant, and a cucumber is the fruit of the Cucumber plant. I still remember when I was a child people arguing whether the tomato was a fruit or a vegetable.

Our lettuce should never go to seed, so we don’t want our Lettuce plants to flower. By picking the leaves regularly, we are in fact keeping the plant in a permanent vegetative state. Our Mustard plants bolted; a long stem grew out of them, with tiny, yellow flowers at the tip.

When such plants bolt, their leaves become bitter and inedible. This year I’m experimenting with Sweet Leaf in order to enhance the taste of our lettuce. It is an Advanced Nutrients product that contains berry sugars and molasses. It is designed to boost the flavor and aroma of your plants.

Our vegetable garden is receiving Iguana Juice Grow, a 100% organic fish-based fertilizer that has been giving us excellent results ever since we started gardening. For Sara’s flower garden I use Iguana Juice Bloom as the basic fert, since most of her plants are already in flower.

In addition to the basic ferts, we also use Seaweed Extract, in order to supply multivitamins and natural growth hormones to our plants. These are beneficial, as opposed to the artificial growth hormones that farmers use to pump up their livestock and their crops.

Organic B is a Vitamin B-complex formula from natural sources. If you Google Vitamin B you get the full spectrum of the beneficial effects of Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, and the other members of the Vitamin B group.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), like its close cousins Thiamine (B1) and Niacin (B3), takes part in the manufacture of plant energy through aiding metabolism and processing amino acids, as well as well as being involved in plant growth and reproduction. Research indicates that Riboflavin plays a major role in the rhizosphere of all plants.

The B-complex group is also influential in the reduction of plant stresses of every kind, including drought stress. For this reason, more and more gardeners are applying it to their gardens during these long, hot summers, which are here to stay.

posted by Tim at 9:35 PM


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