Saving Butternut from Heat

This year has been extremely hot which is great for our luffa, peppers and tomatoes but many of our squash plants are suffering. We have gone 55 days in a row with temperatures in the 90s. Very little clouds to give the plants a break. The tender flowers of the Butternut squash are wilting and drying out before they get pollinated. The soil is also drying out faster than usual. It doesn’t help that our crop rows are on a slope which causes water to move away from some of the plants.

The black fabric weed block we use is very helpful for warming up the soil early which is necessary in our short growing season climate. It extends growth early on and also late in the season. Unfortunately with the high temperatures I believe the squash production is down due to heat stress.

We finally came up with the idea to take some of our old, torn hoop fabric cover, which is thin and white, and cover the black wee block around the Butternut squash. This helped reflect back some of the powerful sun rays so there was less heat.

It worked! The plants quickly produced 6 new Butternut squash.

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Recovering Burnt Beans

This year was full of disappointment. The spring was very short this year and we jumped into a hot dry summer. The black weed block fabric collected a lot of heat and the bean plant leaves just started to dry up. No matter how much watering was done it didn’t seem to make a difference. Luckily we caught it early enough and put up hoops covered with Agribon to give the poor plants a break. It took awhile but most of the plants not only recovered, but flourished under the subtle shade of the covering.

Once the beans started growing again we had another issue. A strange instance of curly leaves started taking over the worst of the burnt plants. Because these plants curled, they didn’t get very tall. The short plants they beans that crew touched the ground before the were full size. This resulted in curly beans laying on the fabric. We have no idea what causes it but it had an impact on overall production and quality.

Next year I plan to plant early to make the most of the spring rains to allows the leaves to grow faster, covering enough black fabric to minimize the heat. If the curly leaf is a disease, hopefully throwing out the twice used fabric will get rid of any residual. Wish us luck!

Coop Upgrades

Poop Deck

The weather hasn’t been warm enough to move the overgrowing chicks into the coop yet so upgrades are being done. First, a necessary addition for ease of cleaning, a poop deck was added. It’s basically drawers under the roosts that can be pulled out to scrape the poop into a bucket. Weekly the drawers can be pulled completely out and be sprayed down with a hose.

Electricity has been brought in with 3 outlets. We’ve added heat lamps and plugged them into thermostat plugs. The lamps turn off once it reaches a certain temperature.

Electric Coop

We found the temperature swings are too wide inside the coop so added some reflective insulation liner to the ceiling, It will probably become more beneficial in the summer when it get’s hot. Chicken’s can die of heat easier than the cold.

Insulated Coop

Hoping to move the chickens into their coop soon as they are starting to jump high! They basement brooder won’t hold them in for much longer!