The summer solstice arrives with the longest day of the year and now we’re actually into summer. Even better, the weather looks set to move back into summer mode as well.
I was beginning to worry I really had put a jinx on things when the day after I shade painted the greenhouse, the hot weather departed and it felt like winter was back. The affect on growth of warm weather and sunshine is quite amazing. Science tells us that chemical reactions are more energetic at warm temperatures and strong sunshine pours more solar energy into the plants. That may be the case but it’s not exactly romantic.
I like a bit of mystery and here’s one puzzler; how do the plants know the daylength is starting to reduce? Some plants like onions react to daylength and start to bulk up when the days get shorter. Somehow they must detect this, but how?
I heard something on the radio the other day about brassicas reacting to temperatures. Not the average temperature but the maximum and minimum temperatures. How on earth do they know? Onions don’t have little photometers and timers and records, neither do cabbages have maximum / minimum thermometers but still they know.
Dawn is for Druids!
I’m afraid I won’t be up to greet the solstice dawn, I’ll leave that fun to the druids. Anyway, we don’t get to see sunrise here as we face to the west. As it happens I was up for the dawn the other morning – not intentionally, I was handling a creature the cat brought in and let go to run around the bed! It’s quite a sight, the sky getting lighter and lighter until suddenly the full sun comes from behind the hillside.
So next time you’re out on the veg plot or just in the garden, take a moment to reflect how amazing it is. Those tiny seeds that explode into life and grow into huge plants. The feeling as you sit down to a meal you’ve grown yourself.
Enjoy the summer!