Has anyone measured the height of their trees by using the formula I posted last Friday? Please let me know how it turned out. I measured a nearby power pole that said it is forty feet tall and I wonder about the accuracy of this.
Here is how to do it, in case you didn’t read it last Friday. Hold a 19 inch stick at arms length. My arm-to-stick measurement is 25 inches. These are the two constants. Now walk back and forth until the top of the stick is at the top of the tree and the bottom of the stick is at the base. Keep your eye on the top and bottom of the tree, but don’t stumble and fall. This distance is the variable. Here’s the formula. 19 (the stick) times the variable divided by 25 (the arm length). All measurements are in inches, so there’s a little calculating to be done.
Our Community Gardens are doing very well and gardeners have every reason to feel pleased with themselves. Night temperatures in the sixties and days below ninety are good for plants, as well as ourselves. But these conditions are not going to last. There will be some failings due to the coming high temperatures Pollen will be killed in corn, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers and though the plants won’t actually die they will be under stress. Covering with an old white sheet to give shade will help. This measure will also reduce sunburn on developing peaches and apricots and figs.
In late September the plants will show some new growth again, which means flowering. The fall production often outperforms the earlier spring harvest. Don’t despair!
Meanwhile the squashes and melons will do fine with all the heat they get and there’s no need to cover the plants.
There are planting opportunities coming up. Sow seeds of melons, squashes, blackeyed peas, Chinese pole beans, okra and peanuts. All these plants like warm conditions. Zuchinni squash are rapid growers so harvest the fruit while the dead flower is still on the end. Don’t wait a week until you get a giant fruit that calls for a wheelbarrow to take it home.
However, the squash vine borer will be appearing soon, to lay her eggs on the vine and the grub eats into the stem and destroys the plant. A strategy to avoid total loss is to sow seed one week after the first harvest. By the time the first plant is declining the second one will be in full production. And this applies to sowings No 3 and 4 (by which time sowing No 1 is dead and gone).
All palm trees like our hot summer weather. This is the best time to plant them, though the worst time for us to work digging a good hole. Because they are actively growing they need good watering, and maybe fertilizing with ammonium sulfate. With these tasks remember that palm tree roots spread out, they are not just in the little circle of bricks that is often used as a planting area. Water deeply and widely.
If you have date seeds from the grocery and have saved them from Christmas you can try your luck during this hot season to sow them. I use sandpaper to remove a bit of the hard seed coat and speed up gerination, but not everyone thinks this is necessary. Lay the seed on its side and cover with an inch of soil and keep it wet. Be patient! The seeds are the result of cross pollination effected by wind, so there’s no knowing whether you’ll get a real Medjool, or even a female tree. Life is a gamble and you won’t know the outcome for at least seven years but you’ll feel proud if you get a winner.
Don’t let anyone prune off any green leaves from a date palm. They are working hard in the hot sun and the tree needs them all.