Southeast Gardening forum: Summer doldrums

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jul 28, 2016 10:10 AM CST
This time of year, it's uncomfortably hot and mosquito-y at any hour and I don't do much outside in the yard but water thirsty plants. I put together a couple new combo planters last weekend & it wasn't as fun as it should have been at all, just too much sweat dripping into my eyes. Are you in slow-mo during the heat?
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Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Jul 28, 2016 12:04 PM CST
Yep, I go outside for a few minutes and come right back in. I do take a face cloth with me, but when I take it out to use it, I always end up dropping it. Ahhh! Thumbs down It's not the heat that's the kicker, it's the excessive humidity. And now, with no rain, the pollen count is up, aggravating my allergy/asthma problems. Grumbling
Name: Missy
SC (Zone 8a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: South Carolina Plant and/or Seed Trader
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Zazinnia
Jul 28, 2016 7:02 PM CST
We really need some rain to cool it off. Walked across my deck in bare feet today and thought it might have raised blisters on my tootsies!! Thumbs down I am just getting tired. This heat zaps my energy. I also sweat a lot, especially my head and face. If I am working, I have to wear a rag on my head and take a wash cloth around to mop up with!! I have been known to take my 'sweat cloth' to Lowes in my pocket. Some days, I just cant take the heat.
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Name: Sheri Boyd
Albany Ga (Zone 8b)
learning all I can of Daylilies and
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Sherib381
Jul 28, 2016 7:44 PM CST
This time of year and the heat get me so depressed. I grieve the garden, I sometimes stare out the window wondering how in the world anything survives in the heat and humidity.
I was just sitting here enjoying the company, plants have a lot to say if you just take the time to listen.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Jul 29, 2016 6:50 AM CST
You people are being oppressed by your air conditioning units.
To cool off in the summer... I leave the door open, and raise a window.
Noticed a heck of a breeze flowing through the open window yesterday...

I've got to wear winter gear every time I go inside anywhere in town... Really sux, I'm well adapted to the heat and going into all that cold could make me sick...

This year... I'm mulching a lot thicker with this stuff...

Thumb of 2016-07-29/stone/007ae7

I go out and run some sprinklers maybe once a week... Really rubs me the wrong way, dumping all that drinking water on the sand...
Where the horse poop has been sitting on top of the ground in these piles.... The sand seems to be growing stuff a lot better than the rest of the garden...

Of course.... Here in the sand hills... I keep trying to grow the veggies in different spots, trying to find a location where they will grow with a minimum of watering.... The flowers had better naturalize without extra water.... Or else....

Back when I was in clay, I watered when I set stuff out, and then didn't water... Really miss that clay.
Name: Bob
Clayton, NC (Zone 7b)
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DigginDirt
Aug 2, 2016 4:27 PM CST
I do whatever needs doing very early in the morning.

Everything is being water this year with timers; I'm not always able to be there when they need watering, between a very close friend who had a heart attack over a month ago and elderly parents who have no business doing many things around their house. I don't begrudge the use of water especially since we're not facing droughts/water restrictions like several years ago, but I am hoping to be able to convert my rain barrels to watering everything by next year (I'll need a pump for the pressure and am still looking at running it with solar panels - no battery since I don't water at night).

Heat/humidity certainly helps things grow in the garden but watering is more frequent. Adding tubing has been a Godsend this year with loved ones needing more help this year.

I still hand water cactus and other potted plants as well as Orchids but since they sit on the shaded front porch (not the cactus - they sit on the walls of the raised beds) or don't need watering as often, they are part of the "early morning" routine most of the time along with filling the birdbath and hummingbird feeders as needed. Since we redid all our raised gardens this year and adding a lot of mulch, weeds have been minimal and easy to pull; I know that will not be the case next year since seeds will have all winter to get blown in and established, but spring being cooler, weeding will be able to be done in tolerable weather.
Name: Deborah Pryor
Orangeburg, SC Zone 8a (Zone 8a)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff!
Charter ATP Member Amaryllis Region: United States of America Tropicals Seed Starter Plumerias
Plant and/or Seed Trader Peonies Lilies Irises Hummingbirder Echinacea
Deebie
Aug 5, 2016 7:36 AM CST
Bob, I'm glad that you were able to get your timers set up to water when you are not able. But as you said, it's a necessity because of other obligations. I do hope that your load lightens soon enough, so that you can get back to regular gardening chores.

I have a similar problem with aging parents, who won't accept their limitations, and look forward to setting up an irrigation system. I've been having problems keeping my asthma under control, and that has put a big dent in my gardening this season. But, I'm hoping that having a home nebulizer (for breathing treatments) and remembering to wear a mask when working outdoors will take care of that problem. Wishing you well in your gardening endeavors with the arrangements that you do have in place.

Stone, you are right about people being spoiled with A/C. I normally work outside during the summer, but with health restrictions, I've had to cut that back and stay inside more. I just wear long sleeves with the air on and take a light sweater with me when I have to go shopping or in a public building for long. Here in SC and near the coast, we have excessive humidity levels along with the heat that creates a problem with staying outside very long this summer. It can be a dangerous combination.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Aug 5, 2016 1:53 PM CST
I wish I could send you my clay, @stone, 1000's of tons of it.

Most houses nowadays are not built for "natural" cooling. In the old days, we had a wrap-around porch and an attic fan that pulled air through the windows. I don't know anyone who wants to go back to those days. I certainly don't.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Bob
Clayton, NC (Zone 7b)
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DigginDirt
Aug 5, 2016 3:00 PM CST
Thanks Deborah. My mom has similar issues with asthma & COPD so we try to do the labor so she can just enjoy.
I intend to keep the irrigation but want to use just rain water. I will need many more barrels to be able to that without augmenting with city water but hopefully over the next couple years I can get them. Our house sits on a sloped lot so one corner is 5-6 feet lower than the opposite one (the front yard is level with a 3 foot retaining wall) so I have designed a pumping system to fill the front tanks when needed.

Yes, Ken, I remember those days, but we didn't have attic fans; we survived just fine. Now we are trying to figure out why Lowes doesn't air condition their parking lots so we don't sweat from the car to the store. :rofl:

We are thinking about putting a ceiling fan up in the front porch at some point. Not only would it help with a little cooling, it would help circulate air for the orchids summering there, and it might make the gnats have to paddle harder to get to us when the humidity is really high.

Tiffany, we put a planter out about 10 feet from the porch (raised beds prevent it being closer) in which I planted Lemon grass, a couple mints, basil, & other anti mosquito herbs and it has made a BIG difference. I get out past the front yard and the mosquitoes are DEFINITELY alive & well so I know the planter is helping. Now if I can just find some herbs to fend off the humidity & heat... Big Grin
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Aug 5, 2016 3:03 PM CST
We have fans all over the place. We have two in the solarium (plus a dedicated AC unit) and six in the house proper. The two greenhouses have 2-4 fans, depending on the time of the year.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Aug 8, 2016 6:36 AM CST
drdawg said:I wish I could send you my clay, @stone, 1000's of tons of it.

Most houses nowadays are not built for "natural" cooling. In the old days, we had a wrap-around porch and an attic fan that pulled air through the windows. I don't know anyone who wants to go back to those days. I certainly don't.


Are you in the "gumbo" belt, drdawg?
Maybe count yer blessings.
I had the chance to plant in that gumbo clay during my migrant Ag days.
And as tough as that stuff is to work in, it can be very productive.
I'd totally trade you in a minute.

When you have a minute, maybe research Sandhills.
It ain't bad enough that water and nutrients drain away immediately, we're in a bit of a rain shadow.
When those storms race across la ms al, they split at the ga border... Half of the moisture heads north to the Appalachian chimmney, and the rest heads to fl!

So.. very dry here. A humid desert.

Re homes built for the heat....
The designs are there... Anyone building their own home totally has the option to build appropriately.
My previous house was oriented to the south with free heat coming through the window in winter...
The sun was overhead in the summer, and low north windows and high south windows meant a constant breeze all summer... Without a fan.
Plus... The solar array on the roof.... Which meant home made electric.
And... The spring fed water... I dug out a seep spring... Cold showers to cool off in those triple digit days...

I visit the occasional survivalist forums.... Where everybody is interested in those homes built for the climate...
Air conditioning simply doesn't make sense...
There's a theory that it may add to the global warming that seems to be aggravating the climate...
Why wouldn't a low tech approach be better than all the houses being turned into walk-in coolers... That leaves everyone at the mercy of the electric company...
Remember brownouts, rolling blackouts?

Might want to make a plan.
Or build a spring house.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Aug 8, 2016 9:03 AM CST
Organic matter is the key regardless of the starting composition. I've seen this work in OH where they remove all of the top soil to sell, then building housing developments (and lay sod) on/in the sub-clay, and in AL where it can rain 2", then an hour after the sun comes back out, the sand is as dry as a bone, but with just enough clay in it to BE concrete, so hard it takes a maddock to dig a hole. Either way, keeping the soil surface covered with organic matter, and renewing it as more becomes available, will turn any dirt into black gold soil that's not muddy when wet, and doesn't dry too quickly, and has excellent fertility. Any plant can only be as good as the soil in which it's growing. To turn dirt into soil, OM is the key.

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Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Aug 10, 2016 3:15 PM CST
Actually...

While organic matter is key, to improving the soil that you have, the subsoil that you start with makes a lot of difference.


Thumb of 2016-08-10/stone/856fad
Seashore mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica) (one plant)
in the clay next to the street in town... doesn't get a drop of supplemental water.

Thumb of 2016-08-10/stone/4baf54
Seashore mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica) (7 plants)
growing in my vegetable garden in the sandhills where it is being watered regularly.
This stuff is supposed to thrive in the sand...
The plants I had that didn't get watered... appear to have died.

Here in middle GA, there is some red clay that is absolutely positively the best stuff I've ever gardened in... everybody complains about it though, because it dries hard as concrete, and it gets in everything... it will stain your clothes like walnut husks... but... add a little horse poop plant some seeds, and stand back!

When I was searching for property, the realtors refused to show red clay, in spite of my begging them to...
everybody in this area knows what a boon that red stuff is...

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