Cultivating soil, pulling weeds, and watering squash

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Today we got together to give our crops a boost through cultivation.  We hoed some weeds around our crops and more importantly, brought soil around them from all sides to support the plants while oxygenating the soil around them.  So we took care of our milpas in this way since both have not received any water for a couple of weeks.  Many plants look like they are suffering the heat, but re-inspection at sundown shows that they are alright.  Withered and curled leaves are more a sign of adaptation to heat and water stress than they are an indication of impending death.  That said, we brought water to our squash plants to help them out thinking that if they grow bigger, they will shade the ground even more so when it does rain we can keep that moisture in the soil around longer.  Squash is notorious for having withered leaves in the heat and a common mistake is to water them when they look that way.  It is important to remember that adaptation as a sign of tolerance rather than suffering, squash plants can drown if they are watered too much…

We also went to check out the progress at Parr Field, the crops are coming out nicely.  It looks like some rows are getting more water than others, maybe we need to replace or repair some drip lines.  Some of our drip lines are taking a hit as chew toys for a local prairie dog, but we are working with some folks to help us relocate this little guy before he starts eating our crops.  Thanks Lynne for helping us out with that!

We also started to lay out the second center bed in our grow dome, but it was so hot in there we thought we were going to pass out!  Our temperature gauge said 108 degrees!  I don’t know if that is accurate, but we decided to wait until some cloudy day and/or early in the day or later in the evening to get this work done instead of getting cooked!

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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