It has been SO hot and SO dry in Portland this spring that I am very worried about it. Yesterday we had wildfire condition warnings in effect. It’s early May. It should be cold and raining every day, and we should be complaining about it, with no hope for sunny 70°F weather until July.
Instead, it feels like the height of summer in spring, with temperatures already in the 80s and not a drop of rain. That’s a problem for my spring vegetables (among other things.) My bok choy, especially, has started bolting. So have some of my mustard greens and radishes. The soil is too hot for them because of both the air temperature and the lack of rain that would otherwise help keep the soil cool.
My spring veggies are in beds between my own house and my neighbor’s, so they get shade in the morning and in the afternoon and evening. I thought that would be enough to protect them from any hot and sunny days we might have this spring. I didn’t count on having only hot and sunny days for 21 days in a row from late April to early May. If things are already this bad, I am dreading what they will be like as global warming gets worse.
Even though I’ve been watering every day and have mulched with straw, it hasn’t been enough. So the other day, I took more drastic measures.
Polyethylene shade netting exists for this purpose, but I didn’t have time to find any, and I try to avoid buying plastics. Luckily, I had some things on hand that worked instead to give my beds some extra shade.
My husband had made some “bounce” for his photography work by sewing elastic to the corners of a light white cloth, so that it can then be stretched across a frame and used to reflect more light on a subject. They just happened to be the same size as my spring garden beds, and he doesn’t use them very often, so I clipped them with some clothes pins onto stakes that I pounded into each corner of the beds. Voila! I have some canopies to help keep my sensitive plants cool. They’ve been much happier since, thanks to my husband letting me borrow his stuff!