The Norman Transcript

Features

July 12, 2013

Crops need shade because of warm spring

NORMAN — Special Notice: Charlene Perry, a longtime participant in the Norman Farm Market, informed me that visitors will be given ice-cold slices of watermelon Saturday. Also, I believe some other vendors are offering samplings of their products.

What a treat. The weather this past week has been deliciously cooler than expected for the first week of July and is forecasted to continue cooler than normal throughout the week, with possible episodes of scattered rain — which didn’t happen. Most Independence Day celebrations, the weather is hot as a firecracker.

Did you happen to see the spectacular large, orange moon surrounded by a dark blue sky a couple of weeks ago? Lightning bugs seemed to be trying to outshine that moon last week.

In my backyard, fireflies by the hundreds were signaling to one another that they would be receptive to company by the opposite sex; however, some female lightning bugs are cannibals and when the male lands, she eats him. There are hundreds of species of fireflies, and I’m not sure that we have the cannibalistic species in central Oklahoma, but cannibalism by female fireflies has been proven by scientists.

Because of the hot, dry spring, it has been difficult to keep our crops thriving without special shades and lots of watering. I was lucky to have red-leaf lettuce February through April because I planted them in a specially prepared, small plot that was shaded to the north by my pottery shed.

Of course, the lettuce has bolted now and I’m hoping that the resulting seed will sow a volunteer crop for late fall. I’ll be planting more as insurance.

Even with the temperature in the upper 90s, shortly after dark, it is pleasant to go outside to listen to the night sounds of spiders, crickets and other creatures that creep about in the dark.

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