Guest Rant by Lajos Szabo, London-based seed-seller, blogger and allotment gardener
While one heat wave hits the USA after the other, here in the UK (you know that small place somewhere in Europe) the summer is a complete washout. We had the wettest June on record and looks like that July will be the same. And with rain comes cold weather too. While you guys are enjoying high summer temperatures we celebrate if it’s in the 70s. I read in the news the other day that a Chinese athlete moved out of the Olympic village to Germany as he found it too cold here to train.
Okay so you might not be enjoying it anymore but for us here, it sounds unbelievable and I have to say I would rather garden in heat than in wet and cold. It might be the case of the ‘neighbour’s garden is always greener’ but believe me, it’s more than challenging to grow anything this year. In a normal year we can grow the warmth-loving tomatoes outside with no problem, but this year the poor plants suffer a lot and I don’t think that anyone will have much of a crop. Normally temperatures are well into the 70s, which is ideal to grow literally every vegetable and flower outside, but not this year.
With rainy weather come slugs and snails and if you had any experience with the damage they can cause, then just multiply that by about 20 and there you have it, the British slug and snail damage in the garden in 2012. Whatever barrier one puts around the plants doesn’t help; the pouring rain comes overnight and washes the protection away and 24 hours later the little creatures have nibbled everything.
So I would rather sweat and water with watering cans if I have to. At least all your gardens are thriving if you water, I believe – or are all your plants burnt? It is pretty hard to imagine how you manage you gardens in that heat, as we never ever have temperatures like you’re experiencing. In the heat of 2006 it was in the 90s but I don’t think it’s ever reached the 100 mark. I wonder sometimes that these extreme weather conditions are the signs of climate change?
I suppose wherever you are in the world you just have to adapt to the changing climate. We do that by growing fast-growing vegetables, and protecting our plants by growing them in greenhouses and poly tunnels; but I wonder what you guys can do to protect your plants from the heat?