One of the benefits of my work is getting to see a lot of rural Iowa. The wheat harvest has begun, wildflowers are in bloom and corn is in tassel. Viewing the progress from field to harvest is a simple pleasure of living in Iowa, whether the view is conventional row crops or a community supported agriculture project that uses more sustainable practices.
This temperature in the 90s helps the field corn grow, but hinders pollination. A lot can happen between now and the harvest and seeing how the season plays out will be engaging.
Because of the early warm weather, farmers' markets have sweet corn already, and I have noticed some differences in my garden. Despite warm temperatures that made the apple blossoms come early, and subsequent frost while they were blooming, my fruit trees look to yield a substantial crop. There will be pears and apples aplenty, suggesting canned apple butter, applesauce, apple juice and a number of baked items with apples and pears in them. I look forward to the work and the products of a busy kitchen.
Japanese beetles in years past made lacework of the leaves on certain trees and plants. This year they appeared briefly and are mostly gone. Last year, someone wrote a light language grid to control the beetles, and two years in, it seems to be working. There are other factors, such as the Japanese beetle traps in a nearby yard are gone, and that could also be contributing to the absence of these pests. During a recent trip to Chicago, Japanese beetles could be seen hovering in the air throughout the trip, plinking into the windshield occasionally, so they are still around.
Lastly, septoria leaf spot, that plagued the tomatoes for years, has not appeared yet. Perhaps it will, but the dry weather seems to have retarded the growth of this fungus. A lot of tomatoes are forming and while I have two cases of canned tomatoes from last year, the July and August garden will provide enough to winter and then some.
My point is the hot, dry weather is not all bad, and in ways has been good for our garden. If the dry grass has not produced enough grass clippings for mulch, the other plants seem healthy, and pulling weeds is good exercise. While the heat wave seems abnormal, it may not be the end of life as we know it, especially if we consider the plants, animals and insects with which we share the planet.