This year has been an exceptionally hot spring and summer as I’m sure everyone has noticed. Since March almost everyday has been warm and sunny, which has meant a lot of growing degree days for our crops. Our crops require a certain soil temperature to germinate and then grow this being particularly important in the early spring. These temperatures were achieved extremely early this year giving our spring crops a huge head start. The crops that over wintered in the ground like the garlic and winter wheat grew extremely quickly in the spring because of heat.
All of this warm weather has increased the growth and development of the plants and all the crops are ready earlier, by about 2 weeks this year. We began picking strawberries this year on June 9th instead of the typical June 18th. Broccoli was ready to pick by mid June the earliest ever. Sweet corn had now been picked in southern Ontario for over two weeks now the earliest ever in history. We hope to be picking our own by next week. We already have small cobs, we are just waiting for them to size up. Saturday’s rain will really help them along. The saying for grain corn “knee high for the first of July” has been blown out of the water with corn being taller than a person before the first of July. Our tomato plants are loaded with green tomatoes and our melons are just a few weeks off from picking, many are already the size of footballs. This week we are beginning to pick our Spanish onions and our raspberry canes are loaded with berries, ready for everyone to come out and pick.
Our “veggie patch” which we grow on the black plastic mulch layer is particularly thriving and early. The black plastic absorbs the suns energy and warms the soil which is particularly desired by the cucurbits, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and basil. The veggie patch looks more like the August than they begin of July. All the plants are full size and we are picking a lot of crops already. The plastic-culture is a great way of growing our vegetable crops because it allow us reduce water loss, directly irrigate the plant roots, control the roots and increase the soil temperature.
The fall wheat has already turned yellow and has begun to dry out. Which means the combines will be in the fields sooner than later, harvesting the wheat for the grain elevators. And baling the stalks for stalk for the strawberries and bedding for our animals. No part of the wheat is unused around here. We even plant clover under the wheat so once the wheat is combined of the clover grows up and flowers which our bees love and clover is a nitrogen fix plant. Which is great