Nature Notes

Heat of the Harvest

With temps in the nineties and relative humidity hovering at a balmy fifty-five percent, many of us here at the Arboretum are feeling as though we’ve entered the dog-days of summer. But the Gardens of Eatin’ have been responding quite well to the stifling heat we’ve been experiencing.


We’re thrilled to see such lush and thick foliage as a result of the weather; our fruits and veggies, legumes and root plants have been growing with feverish pace. However, while the plants may love this sultry weather, the humans aren’t managing as well. Sweat rags, safari-hats and 5-gallon water coolers are the requisite materials for any job needed to be done—and as always, there is plenty to be done.

With little green tomatoes swelling up everywhere, the Gardens of Eatin’ crew has begun to prune and stake the various tomato plants—a necessary task for efficient fruit production, says Ted. The melon patch has seen tremendous growth in the past few weeks; unfortunately, so have the weeds cached in the soil. Although a mindless task, weeding through the melons will ultimately make them much happier as they won’t be competing with the weeds for light and other resources.

"Earthed up" Yukon Gold potatoes
“Earthed up” Yukon Gold potatoes

Similarly, the potatoes have required some preventative maintenance. As a potato plant grows, the developing tubers (read potato) will breach the surface of the soil. If left out in the sunlight, the tubers will turn green with chlorophyll and become inedible. In order to combat this, Ted and his crew have been “earthing up” the Yukon Golds and other potatoes in the gardens. By making mounds of soil around the base of the plant, the potatoes will be protected from sunlight.

Despite the almost intolerable heat, the gardens are flourishing and we’ve already begun to harvest! Hard work in hot weather isn’t nearly as bad when you’ve got fresh basil—let’s just hope we can enjoy it all before the Japanese Beetles do.

Japanese Beetle enjoying some of our basil
Japanese Beetle enjoying some of our basil
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