Dealing with the Summer Heat! by Michael Reif

Dealing with the Summer Heat! 

This past June was the hottest ever recorded! Even hotter than last June, which was then the hottest ever. And July is already looking like it will be more of the same!

With this heat, many of us need to take special care of our plants, carnivorous or otherwise. In areas where CP grow naturally, it's just a simple matter of making certain they have all the high quality water they need. After all, just a few days without this precious element can spell doom for even the healthiest specimens, so be sure to monitor daily. In other parts of the country, mainly west of the Mississippi River, the humidity in the summer can fall far below what the plants need, resulting in dewless sundews and often browning or wilting of the leaves and traps of pitcher plants. While some Pinguicula species are native to near-desert conditions, temperatures there often drop significantly at night, which is when all plants actually do their physical growing. Yes, you could certainly hose down the floor of your greenhouse (if you have one) four or five times a day, but when the temperature is near 100 and humidity is down in the teens, that is one solution. Personally, I have long used humidifiers (as many as required) to keep the humidity up, supplemented by wetting the floor of my greenhouse before I leave for work, after I arrive home, and then a quick spritz at night. The best humidifiers are the large reservoir ultrasonic units, which can run up to 12 hours on a fill. I just bought one on eBay for $14.00! If you are growing outside, the plants must be literally standing in an inch or two of water and misted if possible. Depending on your water quality, most nurseries sell misting nozzles that can attach to the end of your hose.

Everyone should also have some basic tools at their disposal. A thermometer, of course, but also some way to measure humidity. Most inexpensive digital thermometers also display the relative humidity and prices on these has come down dramatically over the last decade. Other tools in your arsenal would ideally be a water quality meter and pH monitor. Both are available on Amazon.com and other online sellers. Both can be found for around $12 each these days! The water quality and pH in many urban areas can vary at different times of the year (where I live, water quality improves after long periods of rain, but the pH climbs because the rainwater is passing through a layer of limestone). I'd personally be lost without these devices. You can have great water quality, but if the pH is too high (alkaline) it won't be long before you have a thick layer of slimy blue-green algae across the surface of your growing medium. That's a clear warning that you better take action to lower your pH immediately! Just adding distilled white vinegar does the job. I add about a cup and a half to my plastic garbage can of stored water (keep the lid on or you'll be breeding clouds of mosquitos in no time.

I'll be back soon, hopefully with details about Carnivore Culture's plans for expansion. Last month's sales were the best ever, but owner Matt Byers isn't satisfied with that success. And that means more plants, more new species and the high quality customer sales and support that have been its hallmark since day one. I can't wait to share the details with you!