Things are certainly heating up at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program these days. Projected temperatures of over 100' this week have us all wanting to run for cover... and for good reason! It's times like this, however, that we have to power through and make sure we have all of our bases covered (or as many as we can) to keep our gardens blessed and nourished. We have been spending the last several weeks at BDVP making sure that our irrigation systems are functioning appropriately and that mulch is heavy enough so that our crops are well hydrated.
Speaking of hydration, we all need to remember the importance of hydrating and nourishing ourselves at this time as well! Drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks in extreme heat is crucial if we want to keep up the good work we are all doing. I often hit the ground running in the morning and don't stop until my head hits the pillow. While my ego might feel like this is a noble pattern, the reality is that when it is this hot outside, my productivity may decrease a bit.... and this is ok! We have to realize that getting out in the field earlier and taking a mid-day break from the heat is essential to maintaining productivity.
I have worked at several community gardens and have seen a very similar pattern. People are absolutely enthusisastic about preparing, planting, weeding, and harvesting up until about the beginning of July. This is when it starts getting pretty hot, weeds and insects are more agressive, rain is lacking. Honestly, this is a common time for new gardeners to cut and run.... and I totally get it. Gardening is hard work! As we gain experience, however, we are able to begin to plan ahead for weather, weeds, lack of rain and create growing systems (drip irrigation, less tilling/more mulching) and utilize effective cultural practices that can work arround some of these obstacles. It is important that we encourage our families to learn from these challenges as it only helps us improve. It is also important that we ALL remember that we are working with a dynamic, living, ever-changing system...A.K.A. nature and we can't plan for everything. Some crops will thrive and some will not. So we do the best we can, we learn from our mistakes, we stay humble and we give thanks for the journey...
Stay cool, friends :)