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July 30, 2016

Saturday Gardening Thread: The Hog Days of Summer [KT]

coral hibiscus.jpg

Coral Hibiscus 'Mango Dainty'

High temperatures have been at 110 degrees or higher for most of this week. Electronic hazard signs over the freeways in Fresno display warnings about severe outdoor watering restrictions. There is haze from wildfires, though not close ones. I have let most of the yard go, but I am still watering trees, grapes, permanent shrubs and a few things in pots (mostly in shade or part shade). Wish my garden looked more tropical. I have been dreaming about tropical trade winds, like maybe in Hawaii. Maybe whilst eating a nice mango.

I haven't felt like being outdoors much. How about you? Sometimes I think about farm animals in this kind of weather. This riddle is dedicated to Traye's Hogs:

Q: What did the pig say on a hot day?


A: I'm bacon.

But enough frivolity. On to some actual topics:

Hibiscus Schizopetalus

The exotic flowers pictured above are also called "Fringed Rosemallow", "Japanese Lantern", "Coral Hibiscus" and "Spider Hibiscus". Oh, and also "Waltzing Ladies" or "Chinese Lanterns". It grows into a big shrub in Hawaii, in nearly frost-free areas of Southern California and along parts of the Gulf Coast.

Elsewhere, it can be kept smaller in containers as a houseplant or seasonal annual, including hanging baskets. Even in Wisconsin. Culture is similar to that for the common tropical hibiscus, except that they should be pruned sparingly for best bloom. They need water.

Cultivars are now available in red, many shades of pink, yellow and white. Here is an unusual double flower, a hybrid with H. rosa-sinensis. Growing in the desert. Do you like it, or is a little too theatrical for you?

yellow hibiscus.jpg

Mangoes

I bought some pretty good mangoes this week at the supermarket, but I suspect that there are much better mangoes out there. If I remember correctly, mangoes cannot be shipped to California from Hawaii because of the oriental fruit fly or a similar species. Most of the mangoes I see in stores here are from Mexico. But mangoes can be grown in nearly frost-free locations in mainland USA. They can even be grown in parts of the low deserts, especially in micro-climates where they have extra frost protection. I hear tell that they grow some excellent mangoes there.

Have you ever grown mangoes? Do you have a favorite kind of mango?

mango-tree.jpg

How to grow mangoes in a pot

Planting Fall Veggies

Although it seems crazy to think about planting for fall here right now, members of The Horde in other parts of the country may want to remember to look up their local planting dates for fall veggies.

Root Crops

Carrots, beets, turnips and rutabagas are possibilities for fall in many climates. Probably too late for parsnips in most places. Golden beets in particular may benefit from planting in warm soil, with better germination rates than in cold spring soil.

Cole crops

Mustards, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and other cole crops tast best when they mature in cool weather. I expect that somewhere seeds are being started for brussels sprouts for my area. They are not reliable here if planted late.

Leafy greens

The leafy kinds of Chinese cabbage may taste better than lettuce in warm weather. Some kinds of lettuce will not sprout in warm soil. Swiss Chard (like beets) sprouts faster in warm soil than cool soil. It can produce for a long time in the fall. /spinach is a little touchier.

Swiss-Chard.jpg

Swiss Chard

Planting Calendars.

Burpee has come up with a fairly sophisticated one. Can't vouch for its accuracy. They are also advertising a "Transylvania" garlic for your vampire-repelling needs. Don't forget long-day onions for fall if suitable in your area.

Have you settled on a favorite planting calendar for your area? Does it cover both veggies and flowers? Want to do some planting for fall? We can discuss it in the comments.

Have a great weekend.

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posted by Open Blogger at 12:45 PM

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