Sunday, July 18, 2010

WHEN WILL THE NIGHTS GET COOLER?

Not for some time, I'm sure.

For weeks on end the garden has been subjected to temperatures in the 90s and that wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that night time temperatures do not drop below 75degrees. That makes all the difference in how plants tolerate the heat.

Tomatoes stop producing fruit once the night time temperatures stay above 70. At least most plants. My Celebrity, Peach and Romas have finished production. The cherries do a little better and my yellow pear and juliets are still producing. The Juliet was a seedling growing in the gravel which I found a new home for in the vegetable garden. It is a prolific producer of small fruits with a somewhat sharper taste than the larger fruited tomatoes. When I have an odd assortment of tomatoes, misshapen or requiring some parts to be cut away, even green ones, I have a great recipe.

Saute some onions and garlic until soft. Add the cut up tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Pour into a casserole and add chopped mozzarella, basil. Season and grate parmesan cheese over the top. Bake 20 minutes until cheese in brown. Great dish to have with fish or meats.

If the tomatoes shun the hot nights then this little plant is quite the opposite. It doesn't even want to open its flowers until later in the day when the sun is beating down with all its ferocity. Afraid that it would not be hardy in our winters I took cuttings in the fall and kept them alive over the winter, replanting them when danger of frost had passed. The plant sulked for the longest time until conditions were to its suiting. The time has come. It is vibrant pink like the portulacas but the leaf is small. Anyone know its name?


I always buy a couple of 4" pots of portulaca, Portulaca grandiflora. That is all you need because they are so easy to root. Just break off a stem and stick it in a pot in a sheltered spot until it roots and then plant. Notice the competing wine cup among the pink portulacas.

The difference between these plants and the first one is , these open their flowers as soon as the sun comes up and the other creeper opens its flowers as the portulaca is closing.

Here is another member of the portulaca family, shaggy portulaca, Portulaca pilosa. It appeared in the gravel and opened its flowers this week. It is native to texas and will cover the ground with a rosy mat of flowers. It seeds easily, hence its appearance in my garden this year.
I won't give a mention to that other purslane, the weedy one, which doesn't ever produce a visible flower but manages millions of seeds. Plenty of that over here.





12 comments:

  1. These are gorgeous! They're so common, but yet I have to have them every year and they're always a favorite! Mine with the smaller leaves came with just the tag Purslane, which is a typle of the Portulaca I'm pretty sure. Regardless, they're lovely and a winner for our hot Texas heat! I've already had to move some normal full sun lovers to a shadier spot because of the heat. It's going to be a long summer!

    ReplyDelete
  2. never knew that about tomatoes... guess I'll keep an eye on nighttime temps here as well!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your sun loving plant is Moss Rose. My mother has it in her garden of northern Illinois and survives the severe winters there, but thrives in hot weather. I visited a friend's garden in Ft. Worth on our way home on vacation last week, and she had it growing in a beautiful two-tiered bird bath that had cracked and couldn't be used for it's original purpose...it was stunning cascading over the sides, in full bloom when I viewed it at early evening.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've never seen that shaggy portulaca...gotta have me some of that! All my tomatoes have stopped producing...but I have about a dozen still on the vine. It's been the best year for tomatoes here!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My tomatoes have stopped, too. There are a few, yet to ripen. Then, it'll be over, for the summer.

    I have plenty of the wild purslane here. It especially likes the good soil in the veggie garden. A pest...

    I've never seen the shaggy one. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.

    ~~Linda...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, I'm so glad I paid your blog a visit today. I was thinking about you and wondering how your plans to Egypt/Israel/Jordan is going? Are you getting excited?? Would you believe that my daughter and I are discussing ANOTHER trip to Egypt?? I also had just updated my blog and was discussing my NON producing tomato plant that I'm thinking I need to PRUNE. I was blaming it on the bees, but could it really be hot weather that is keeping them from fruiting? They ARE blooming... Also, I *MOSS ROSE*... it has always been my favorite flower to grow here. Very hardy. This is my first year without them! Now I'm going to have to search for some to grow again while we're getting this heat. I think I have some seeds in my stash, and I have JUST the pot to grow them in. Also, your yard is simply GORGEOUS!! Keep me posted on your trip!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That weedy purslane was the bane of my existence in my old garden. It always had a toehold (or square yards) of my decomposed granite paths. I therefore feel less kindly disposed toward the pretty flowering purslane than I otherwise might.

    Waiting resignedly for those cool nights too. At least two more months to go.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Jenny,

    It's good to see 'Juliet' worked for you! It's been my go-to tomato for years but did nothing this year. You are so right about the hot nights- plants just look so weary, even with water.

    Twenty years ago Henry Mitchell wrote how he loved the old-fashioned Moss Rose Portulaca that was a staple of the South, but also lamented its unwillingness to bloom unless the light was just perfect. He also talked about new hybrids that promised to stay open. Since the cultivated Portulacas all seem to be species grandiflora - bet that hybridizing and years of selection accounts for the range of color, leaf thickness & response to light.

    I love that the native portulaca is called "Kiss Me Quick" on the NPIN site ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mandy- The creeping purslane is quite different from the other narrow leaf one with the double flowers. This one creeps flat never filling out.
    Morning Glories- Thanks for the id but this is quite different from the regular moss rose as I told Mandy. I think it had a tag that said Mexican ---- Wish I had really made a mental note. The flowers are single unlike the narrow leaf moss rose which also has double flowers. I think it came from BSN. Must give them a call or take a piece in.
    Patchwork and Pam- i am being overtaken by this horrible weed. One veg. bed is a mat of the plant. Dinner, maybe!
    Annie- This Juliet justs reseeds itself and seems to do well in the heat. Also I think one must have crossed with a yellow tomato because I have one plant producing small yellow tomatoes. kiss me quick- or I'll be closing up!
    Helen- Fortunately someone else is organizing our Egypt trip so I am not really involved yet. I am excited though to be finally going to see those pyramids and the treasury at Petra. I will remember the time though. Would not want to get left behind. We had that happen once before. Don't these guides wait until they have everyone there. No!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes the night heat takes a toll on us too. I loved all your great info and such gorgeous pictures. And I simply must make your tomato recipe this weekend.

    I used to grow moss rose & portulaca, too. I love them so. Maybe I can wrangle a good spot for them here.

    ReplyDelete
  11. hello , i m Ina and i come from holland , i like to read your blogs , i love to garden as wel i have a weblog to greetings Ina

    ReplyDelete
  12. I finally followed up to see if U had replied. Will you be blogging your trip? I'm doing research on mine right now. Thinking it will be Turkey/Greece afterall. I'm impressed with Ephesus and can't wait to visit everything. Keep me posted!!

    Helen

    ReplyDelete