Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Botany of Wilting 101

The Botany of Wilting 101
OK, this is not really a primer on the process of wilting (when a plant loses so much water its cells start to shrink, the cell walls collapse, the plant tries to close up its stomatae, those openings to the air around it, but cannot do so completely and continues to lose moisture to the dry air). You can see by the thermometer photo above, taken moments ago, that it is almost 105 here. In the shade on my porch. It is impossible to work outdoors in these conditions and my poor garden is miserable. Yields are down (for example, tomato pollen fries and dies when it hits the mid to upper 80's, so the plant cannot set new fruit), plants are looking tired and dusty and I am back to watering, dragging soaker hoses and sprinklers around at night so I can easily start them going in the wee hours of the morning. I have been getting up at 4 or 5 AM, turning on the sprinkler to water one of my four distinct veggie/fruit garden areas, taking my morning walk (all or part in the dark-at least I get to watch the cool bats fly around in my neighborhood at that hour!), then trying to do a few essential tasks before I wilt (every day-water the potted plants). A few plants just love the heat! Unfortunately, one of them is poison ivy and I have the rash to prove it. But, heh...heh...heh...even the crab grass is wilting!
I am about to go out and do a rain dance....
Happy gardening...if you can! Hoping for rain and cooler weather...


daniel john said...

Reading this made me feel smarter,better informed.Great post!

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Judy Thomas said...

Thank you so much Daniel John!