100+ Temperatures and Thinking Fall Garden?
Yep! I am!
All the garden books I read tell North Texas gardeners to start planting seeds for your fall garden now.
A week ago I planted cantaloupe, Kombucha squash and spaghetti squash seeds. I also bought some seeds for butternut squash.
Although I like to eat them, I gave up trying to grow yellow and other summer squash types because the squash bugs get them before they are even fully mature. Summer squash is characterized as being soft-skinned, making it more tender and moist overall and likely more attractive to pests. In contrast, winter squash is considered to be more hard-shelled, making it ideal for storing throughout the cold months (hence why it's called winter squash).
Kombucha, a small round squash, about the size of a cantaloupe, is delicious and my favorite. It has the deep orange color of a pumpkin but tastes closer to a combination of a pumpkin and a sweet potato. Like most winter squash, its rind is hard. Kombucha is also hard to find in the grocery store and tends to be pricey. Usually you can only find them in the expensives stores and only around Thanksgiving. Spaghetti and Butternut squash also belong to the category of winter squash. This squash seems to be more resistant to insects than the summer squash, however, it tends to like cooler weather and that presents a challenge. I planted it a week ago at the same time I planted the cantaloupe and spaghetti squash seeds but it took 4 days longer to germinate. The Spaghetti squash and cantaloupe germinated in only 3 days.
Above are the Kombucha seedlings. I didn't know what to expect as these seeds were from 2019.from a squash I had grown from Baker Creek seeds. but they germinated just fine--almost every seed I planted. Whenever you can, it is best to use seeds from healthy plants that were grown in the area where you live because those plants have a proven track reord for being compatible with your climate.
Spaghetti squash already has seedlings that have the beginning of their true leaves. I'll dig them out one by one with a spoon and transplant to individual containers that I'll put in trays for easier management--transferring them from early morning sun (until about 11 am) and evening from 6 PM to dark. until late August when I'll transplant them into the garden.
Above is the cantaloupe. I'll transfer them to the garden the first of August as they are more heat tolerant.
BABYING. YOUR PLANTS DURING THE HEAT
Ideally in 100+ heat most vegetable plants need to be watered twice a day--in the early morning and evening. Tender new plants and seedlings need to be protected through the hottest part of the day with a shade covering. For small tomato plants it' s easy: Put a tomato cage over the plant and cut up an old sheet to drape over the cage from about 11 AM to 5PM daily. Use large safety pins or clothes pins to attach the cloth to the tomato cage.
Above is the set-up for my three pots of seedlings; Four tomato cages support a twin bed size sheet (one on each side of the two end pots). I use clothes pins to attach the sheet to the top of the cages. You want to make sure the cloth is at least a foot to 18 inches above the plants so as to ensure good air circulation. You don't want to create a hot box for the plants.
If you want to put transplants in your garden now, two of your safest bets for survival are okra, cantaloupe, and peppers.