I’m Diggin’ Friday: Wilting and the Seventh-Month Slump

Welcome to I’m Diggin’ Friday, a weekly feature here at Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog that explores the ins and outs of Barefoot Gardening, a fun, family-friendly, low-stress way to grow fresh produce right at home!

The temperature hit 102 degrees today – too hot to even think about gardening. But with the A/C and the ceiling fan working hard, I can blog about it.  At least a short post. 🙂

Wilting pumpkin vines.
Wilting pumpkin vines I know how they feel.

I watered yesterday but these poor pumpkins are still wilting. I know how they feel. (Don’t worry, the water is on as we speak. They obviously need some more).

The good news is the wilting allowed me to find a few more pumpkins amid all that foliage – there were seven, including a cool green and orange-striped one that I harvested this afternoon.

Why do plants wilt?

Herbaceous plants – those without woody stems – rely on water pressure to keep them upright. Like a hose, they can only stand straight when their cells have sufficient water. Not enough H2O and they flop over or wilt.

The cure? Give ’em a drink!

However, not all leaf-curling is wilting. Plants lose water from their leaves through a evaporation – a process known as transpiration. When it’s really hot, transpiration increases. To avoid losing too much water some plants curl their leaves, thereby reducing the amount of surface exposed to the sun.

So, if your tomato plants are otherwise healthy and well-watered, but their leaves are curling up, they’re just protecting themselves from the heat.

The Seventh-Month Slump

It’s official: I’ve hit the mid-summer gardening slump. Veggies are ripening, beds need watering and the temperature is climbing. And yet, while summer is still going strong, now is the time to start planning for fall veggie gardening.

Yes, now is the time to start those long-growing veggies, the cabbage family crops that 4-EVER to ripen. Every year I have great plans to start them as seedlings indoors in July. And every year I hit the slump.

This year I will embrace my laziness and decide upfront (instead of accepting the inevitable later) that there will be no broccoli, Brussels sprouts or other time-hogs in my garden come fall.

Instead I will enjoy the lazy days of tomatoes and cukes and plant lettuce, spinach and other quick and easy crops in September and October – when the beans have come up and my energy has returned.

The return will still be great. I’ll be harvesting THOSE greens all winter – and into the spring, too! More on that in a future post

BONUS: July Poster Giveaway

This month’s special giveaway is this fabulous out-of-print NOAA poster, Marine Mammals of the Western Hemisphere. Everyone who leaves a comment between now and the end of July gets one entry in the drawing. Link to this site on your blog and get two entries. Get your comments in now!

Danielle Meitiv is a writer, marine science geek, gardener and mother who goes barefoot whenever possible. She’s currently writing a series of short erotic romances. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate for Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Danielle Meitiv’s Barefoot Blog, and Danielle Meitiv.

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3 thoughts on “I’m Diggin’ Friday: Wilting and the Seventh-Month Slump

  1. Danielle,

    I’ve been meaning to get a comment in over here since Friday. I’m totally wilting too!! My tomatoes are producing though. One annoying thing for me is that my yellow crookneck squash never really took off. My cucumbers tanked too. But everything else is going well, although my tomatoes are just starting to really hit big.

    I love your gardening posts. 🙂

    1. Hi Jenny – I’m having similar problems. For the first time my summer squash haven’t gone anywhere. But my tomatoes are coming in too – lots of gazpacho and tomato salad in my future!

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