Archive for July, 2012

July 4, 2012

Hot Potato

by Cynthia

How hot is it where you are? It was 108 in my backyard last week, close to 100 today.  HOT! Thank goodness global warming is just an elaborate ruse cooked up by reactionary, pseudo-science spouting  liberals who want to throw daggers into the capitalist heart of all that is American: big business, consumerism and entitlement. I’d hate to think the earth is really getting hotter, (can anyone really still deny it?) and that our relentless lack of concern for how we use the planet  is beginning to bite us in the butt.

One significant evidence of climate change is that the USDA hardiness zones have been adjusted to reflect increasingly hotter weather, affecting gardeners and commercial farmers alike. Each hardiness zone represents a ten degree difference in average minimum temperatures and are used to help us know how cold hardy a particular plant will be.  Here in middle Tennessee we used to be in Zone 6B.   Now we are in hardiness Zone 7A. Someday, they’ll be growing lemons in Anchorage.

It’s so hot that the blossoms on my Arkansas Traveler tomatoes are falling off before the fruit can develop which makes me very sad.  The bush beans are doing well, and the little heirloom yellow tomato, Garden Peach looks great. It must love hot weather.  The Colorado Potato Beetles were making an endless banquet of my potato plants, so I just dug them up. Well, actually, I turned them over. I grow potatoes in those big bags that Gardener’s Supply Company sells. I line them up along the garden fence, saving the garden beds for other crops. My garden consists of eight twenty foot by four foot raised beds, so my space is limited. I harvested thirty-five pounds of potatoes, now where in the world to store them?  Oh, for a root cellar!


Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake pole beans

Here is what awaited me in the garden after I’d been gone for a week to a writing workshop in Iowa. A bushel of green beans. Speaking of Iowa, it is such a delight to fly into Cedar Rapids during the summer. The corn fields grow right up next to the runway, and the corn is so picturesque as it sways in the wind as the plane is landing.  Unfortunately, the extreme heat and the lack of rain is putting this year’s corn crop in peril. Most of the corn is grown in the Midwest, where irrigation is not typically needed, so no rain and high temperatures means no crops and no profit for American corn farmers, who had planted 96.4 million acres this year.

John Hawkins, a spokesman for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said those in the southernmost sections of his state “are close to or past that point of no return,” while in the other sections of the state, “there’s a lot of praying, it’s hanging on by a thread. These 100-degree temperatures are just sucking the life out of everything.”  Amen. So get your corn from your local farmer’s market and not the grocery store, where it is going to be more expensive than usual. And pray for rain!

This pile of beans turned into 7 quarts of canned beans and one dinner.