Thursday, June 20, 2013

The June Solstice is This Week

The June Solstice occurs on Friday, June 21 at 12:04 AM. Did you know this is the longest day of the year and the days begin to shorten after this?

This is a very important event in the plant world as many of the garden and wild plants are day length sensitive. Many of the mile markers of the season in terms of plant development are driven by light.

Many of the greens such as lettuce, spinach and mustard greens want to bolt at this point no matter what size the plants are. Bolting is the process of the plants sending up a see head and is usually accompanied by a bitterness in the plant. We avoid this by planting a second or third crop long about now.

The enlargement of the bulb on long day northern onions is triggered by the long days at the end of June (see post on counting onion leaves). The effect is quite striking as the onions go from the size of my index finger to the size of a baseball or softball in a matter of weeks. The cellular replication rate must be off the charts.

The shear length of the days make plants like corn do double time in growth. That is why plants near the Arctic circle, while they have a short growing season often can grow rapidly, and make a crop in the land of the mid night sun. We often notice that the late full season corn for green chopping for the silo would reach phenomenal heights of 10-12 feet because it was planted late and leveraged those long days.

Tell someone you love, that you enjoyed sharing the longest day with them.

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