Fooling Mother Nature: Summer Edition

I have a company that builds and maintains organic vegetable gardens for home owners, businesses, schools… everyone!  So it makes sense that I employ a few tricks to grow food faster or help extend the growing season both earlier and longer.

Like knowing which plants to plant when. 

To keep it simple, let’s split the Torontonian growing season in to two categories: Summer and Not-summer.  Or more specifically, hot and not-so-hot. 

Let’s use hot peppers as an example of a summer vegetable.  Peppers hate cold wet weather and frost often has a detrimental effect on them.  So how can you get them producing earlier in the season?

  1. For starts you must get a head start by purchasing seedlings or starting them on a sunny window on your own.
  2. Second you need to make sure they are in a warm/hot environment early on in the season when the temperature outside isn’t in the 30’s.  A simply way to do this is to grab a plastic garbage bag and cover the plant ensuring that there is soil overtop of the opening to guard against wind.  Now you have created a greenhouse effect so that you can have warmer temperatures in the bag and the plant will grow and produce faster. 

A note about pollination, I suggest that you remove the bag during the warmest point of the day to allow bees to pollinate the plant or you have to do it yourself. 

  1. Another neat trick is to put a jug of water inside the bag with the plant.  The water will warm up and slowly cool down overnight allowing you to keep warmer temperatures over night too.

 

Now for the not-summer plants; most greens go to seed (bolt) when the warm temperatures come in. 

  1. You need to go out of your way to make sure you search out heat loving greens during the summer to make sure you have a supply all year.
  2. Alternatively, you can setup some shade (if you already don’t have any) over top.  I like to grow ground cherries in the summer so I usually grow greens underneath the plant as there is a nice shade canopy that the plant grows into. 

A note about bolting plants.  Usually the greens turn bitter when the hot weather comes in, but if you enjoy bitter greens then make sure you clip off the flowers when they start to grow.  The plant will continue to yield leaves for a while longer.

Have any tips or tricks that have worked for you? Please share them along. 

Stay tuned for our Winter Edition of Fooling Mother Nature next week.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by zora ignatovic on April 19, 2011 at 13:31

    Question from the long time gardener and food activist: where you can find the good organic soil to start the raised bad gardens?people are asking me that all the time. I say do your own compost and you will know what is in your container.

    thanks for sharing the abundance and love for good. local food
    peace, gratitude
    Zora

    Reply

    • We definitely encourage creating your own compost but we know that’s not always easy. We learned a great trick last season: Starbucks Coffee shops will hold on to their coffee grinds to supplement your compost and make them available to you for free! Just give them a call before you head over so they know not to throw them out. Compost can’t be just coffee grinds though. Watch for our post in the coming days about Composter Dos and Don’ts.

      Reply

  2. […] « Fooling Mother Nature: Summer Edition How to Save on Phantom Power […]

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