It’s another hot and humid day on the homestead.
While you chill inside your air-conditioned home, unfinished chores crowd your head – pull weeds on the hugel mounds, mow the lawn, sift the compost, transplant the dying pepper plant. The desire to work in the garden grows. The itch to prep for fall crops lures you outside despite the heat.
The instant you leave the controlled confines of your home, prickles of sweat poke through your shirt. Twenty minutes later, rivulets of sweat travel down your back, perspiration drips into your eyeglass lenses. You look as though you fell into the pond. Such is summertime in Virginia.
The idea of growing food for the entire year is such an exciting prospect that it drives you out into the heat. Buying soil at the big box store flits across your mind. It would be so easy, but your heart tells you that’s cheating your wallet and your future crops. The resources to make compost and enrich the soil are abundant.
If only there were ways to beat the heat.
How do you survive 90 degree days, especially when they span weeks before a brief reprieve? Many would advise you to work early in the morning or late in the afternoon, take frequent breaks, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate—all sound suggestions.
Dick and Jane’s philosophy is to use hydraulics whenever possible. Let something else do the heavy lifting. Followed closely with cool off fast by jumping into a pool or shower – it makes you feel human instantly.
A successful garden requires rich organic material. At the top of today’s priority list – turn the compost pile. If you’ve ever moved a mound of matter from one place to the other, you know it’s an intensive workout. It’s time to introduce Digger, the John Deere excavator. He’ll get the job done, no sweat. Dick operates the bucket, scooping up corn stalks, leaves, marigolds, and other compostable items and dropping them into bin number 2. Adding air to the mix will aid in the decomposition. Jane adds water between bucket loads.
In a few weeks, the pile will be sifted through a screen to get the final product.
The beans are doing fabulous. It’s been two days since we had our first harvest with enough beans to have with dinner – same with today’s pickings. Jane was ready to call bush beans her worse crop of the year, but not anymore.
The title for the worse crop may have to go to the watermelon. Earlier in the month, continuous rain for three straight days split two watermelons, the entire crop. So sad. However, look at what Jane found today.
It always feels like Christmas when the UPS guy delivers packages. Today’s ‘present’ is the hoop house’s thermometer. It read 120 degrees out of the box – it must be scorching inside that brown van.
Several hours in the hoop house, the thermometer read 98, several degrees hotter than outside. Will this hurt the chances of seed germination?
One tip from Hoss Tools about their seed trays is to water three times a day to lower the temperature of the seeds. Maybe Jane replanted the spinach a wee bit too soon. Time will tell.
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