Friday, June 04, 2010

Is this the new normal for June?

I remember this time of year when I was young. School was winding down, and it was almost impossible for anyone to focus. The nuns would allow us extra recess periods, or classes outside, or walks to the park. I think they enjoyed late May and early June as much as we did: sunshine and gentle breezes, puffy clouds in a blue sky, pleasant temperatures. In a few months, late July through mid-August, temperatures would be sweltering - high 80's, maybe the 90's. But for now the weather was just right for going outside and playing.

Are those days gone forever?

I mowed the lawn today. I had to time my lawnmowing so I would not be exerting myself during the hottest times of the day. It's been in the high 80's and low 90's for much of the past two weeks.

I've decided to try out some Topsy-Turvy tomato planters this year. I have eight of them, but have only set up two so far, one Rutgers and one Marglobe.* I have about six more Rutgers seedlings and at least a dozen more Marglobes. Some of these will be planted in the ground, some in large pots, and some will be given away. But the thing that worries me is a statement made in the "Bill Felknor's 10 Tips to Success" booklet that came with the planters:

Tip #10: If you live in a tropical or desert environment, please recognize that tomato plants exposed to 90 degree Fahrenheit heat for ten or more days straight will often set much fewer or no blossoms. If you live in an area like this, call your local garden center or University horticulture department to ask what tomato varieties will grow in your geographical area.
Last time I checked Northeastern Pennsylvania was not a "tropical or desert environment."** But the possibility of ten or more consecutive days of 90 degree temperatures definitely exists. How the oppressive heat will affect my plants has never really been a major concern for me this early in the season before. Later on, yes - last year's hot and wet weather created a perfect environment for Black Rot to wipe out my grapes. I'm am hoping for a drier year this year, and a cooler one, perhaps. (And I'm spraying a lot more. Dammit.)

But maybe not. Maybe the perfect days of late May and early June are now a thing of the past. Maybe sweltering heat at this time of year is the new normal.

*I see that I have chosen two "determinate" varieties with similar maturity dates - meaning that some time in the future I should have a sudden crush of tomatoes all at once. Uh-oh... Maybe I can sttill start an indeterminate variety.
Not yet, anyway.

1 comment:

Renegade said...

Dude: Everything seems to be blloming 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule this year.