As most of you know, I depend on the garden producing a large share of my food for the year. Using the mulch gets me closer to self-sustainability. The tunnel house was part of that plan. Having consistence temperatures in the nineties for June isn’t part of that plan!

As most of you know, I depend on the garden producing a large share of my food for the year.  Using the mulch gets me closer to self-sustainability. The tunnel house was part of that plan. Having consistence temperatures in the nineties for June isn’t part of that plan!
Hubby and I started planting beans and corn a different way a decade ago when the climate seemed to be getting drier. We open a farrow, fill it with water, let it absorb into the soil for ten minutes, and plant the seed. As I place the seed, Hubby comes behind me covering the seed and farrow with the dry soil. We get almost full germination with this method. If the soil has been drying from a drought, we’ll water the farrow again before planting. Should it rain before the seeds have germinated, I’ll lightly water the bed every morning until the seeds are up.
Likewise, when I set plants in the beds, I dig a deep hole, fill it with water, put in amendments, place the plant, and cover with the dry soil. If possible, I’ll mulch the plants heavy. This has given me a good survival rate for my transplants.
I have several hundred plants in pots, transplants for fall garden and some were for Master Gardeners’ display on July 14th at GWC National monument. Even though I’m watering them twice daily many are dead or dying from the high temperatures.
Plants have evolved to handle heat by releasing water from their leaves. This is like using a fine mister to cool the air around us. Even with water in the soil the plant can’t cool itself fast enough due to high soil temperatures.  Major problems will take place in photosynthesis. As the plant tries to conserve water it closes its stomata on the underside of the leaf. Once they are closed the essential element, carbon dioxide, exchange is reduced and enzyme action stops. The smaller plant grows closer to the ground. Blossoms drop and pollen dries reducing any fruit formation.
Many of the wild edibles I hold in pots for Carver Day are doing just that. I’ve misted, watered, moved to shade, and just tried to hold them in a more protected place while watching the plants shut down one by one.
By using the ‘old-fashioned open-pollinated seeds, my vegetable plants can withstand four extra degrees. The plant grows smaller leaves and will set fruit higher on the plant. Root go deeper into the soil to avoid high soil temperatures. This is how plants handle higher temperatures later in the season.
I missed my first tomatoes because they set on at ground level. My main season corn has tasseled three weeks early and the cucumbers are getting bitter even with irrigation. Lima beans, a crop grown in the heat, has dropped all the blossoms for the last week. Pepper blossoms are drying after blooming, preventing bees from possible pollination. Even the okra has produced pods only inches above the ground.
All plants show the effects. Blueberries leaves wilted while the fruit dried on the bush. Squash bugs invaded in hordes. Cabbage stopped growing and kale became skeletonized. Herbs are blooming weeks ahead and weeds have dropped seeds.
I’ll be trying all the tricks I can find.

Linda Simmons writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.