It’s really cooling off at night!

Is it getting cooler in your area? It’s getting cooler here and the temperatures seem to be dropping lower than they should at night for this time of year.

On Sunday I happened to look at my weather widget on my computer and I saw that it was supposed to go down to 0 Celsius overnight. Yikes! Zero at this time of year? I’ve still got tomatoes, Cannas, Passion flower vines and other tropicals outdoors!

My husband and I talked about how low the temperatures were going to go and I thought about just covering the plants with a sheet of burlap. We have plenty of that for winterizing so it’s handy! Instead we decided to bring some of the more delicate plants – passion flower, jasmine, ornamental pepper and two potted tomato plants into the back porch. Yes it still gets cool in that room but it’s enclosed and it always seem to stay a few degree’s warmer than whatever it is outdoors.

The enclosed back porch faces south and it’s been an ideal room to use when I’ve got my act together and have started seedlings in the late winter or early spring. Some winter days with the sun shinning fully into the room it can get up to between 70 and 80 F in there even when it’s close to zero outside! Of course at night without the sun it cools substantially.

Anyway, I think I might leave the potted tomatoes in the room for as long as I can. Perhaps I’ll be eating fresh tomatoes long after you’ve pulled yours out of the ground?






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My tomatoes are so behind!

I don’t think I’m going to have many or possibly any tomatoes this year. I planted them way too late!

Normally I either grow tomatoes from seed – beginning in March, or I purchase tomato plants in May and plant them by the end of that month or in early June. This year I didn’t start any tomatoes from seed and I didn’t buy any plants until the end of June or possibly even the beginning of July.

July in this area wasn’t all that warm. I’m certain the temperatures were below normal. So the tomatoes that I planted didn’t get off to a very good start. August was very warm for the most part, in fact we had several heat waves and that might not have been good for my tomatoes either.

My tomato plants do have small green tomatoes on them, but I don’t think they’ll grow big enough to ripen before it begins to get too cool at night.

I think what I might do is bring the containers that I’m growing some of my tomatoes in, into the enclosed back porch. I probably won’t have to do that for two or three weeks, but when I do the tomatoes will be in a nice warm sunny room. Actually the back porch can get quite hot with the sun shining directly on it for a good portion of the day.

Have you ever brought tomatoes indoors to finish growing and ripening when they were behind at the end of the season?

I figure it can’t hurt to try anyway.

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Do you put mulch on your garden beds?

If you’ve been reading my garden stories you know I was a very very bad gardener this year. I didn’t complete my summer gardening tasks until last week! Those tasks included adding a three inch or so layer of shredded red cedar mulch to my garden beds.

Time and time again I’m amazed at what a difference mulching the garden came make. If you use an attractive mulch it makes your garden beds look nicer. I find it also makes your garden look tidier.

Other benefits of mulching include:

  1. It cuts down on weeds and the task of weeding since weed seeds can’t penetrate the thick mulch easily.
  2. Mulching helps hold the moisture in the soil so you don’t have to water as often.
  3. Mulch helps keep your plants roots cool.
  4. I find fewer animals digging in my garden beds when they have a good layer of mulch.
  5. Plants look healthier.
  6. It’s been said that red mulch placed around Tomato plants reflect certain light rays back at the plant and actually help make tomatoes grow better.
  7. The mulch eventually breaks down in the soil and adds nutrients for your plants.

Since putting mulch down we’ve only watered the garden twice and the plants look great. I did rain on Sunday though so you could say the gardens had three waterings. Prior to adding the mulch the plants were wilting in the hot summer heat within two days. The soil was just drying out too fast.

Now my plants were fairly healthy despite the lack of care I’ve given them this summer, but still, I can see an improvement in how they are withstanding the summer heat in the short time that the mulch has been down on the garden beds.

I’m not new to mulch. Ever since I put my garden beds in six years ago I’ve been putting mulch down on the garden beds by the end of each June. This is the first year that I did it so late and I won’t ever be late again. It really helps!

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