Heat of Summer Fuels Garden Growth

The hot, humid weather in Chicago has caused an explosion of growth in the WTTW garden.

While the majority of the crops are thriving from this weather, one plant appears to be withering. Will it bounce back?


It finally feels like summer in the city with mid- to upper-80-degree temperatures these past few weeks.

The warm weather has fueled the growth of crops in our garden, including the tri-color bush beans which were harvested for the first time on July 29.

  • Adrienne Detanico, left, and Lona Popovic harvest nasturtiums.

    Adrienne Detanico, left, and Lona Popovic harvest nasturtiums.

  • Adrienne Detanico looks for tri-color bush beans to harvest.

    Adrienne Detanico looks for tri-color bush beans to harvest.

  • Nasturtiums, edible flowers, harvested from the WTTW garden.

    Nasturtiums, edible flowers, harvested from the WTTW garden.

  • Red Russian kale wilts in the heat.

    Red Russian kale wilts in the heat.

  • Tri-color bush beans growing in the WTTW garden.

    Tri-color bush beans growing in the WTTW garden.

  • Tri-color bush beans harvested on Wednesday, July 29.

    Tri-color bush beans harvested on Wednesday, July 29.

The Organic Gardener maintenance crew member Adrienne Detanico recommends harvesting beans frequently because it will send a message to the crop to keep producing.

“If a plant has fruit set, it will mature. It won’t bother sending out new fruit,” she said. “If you pick them, it encourages them to produce more.”

Over the past couple of weeks, the nasturtium has blossomed, Turkish orange eggplants and sweet lunchbox peppers started bearing fruit, and lots of tiny tomatoes (some of which are starting to change color) appeared on the vines.

Looks can be deceiving

While the majority of the crops in the garden are relishing the heat hot temperatures, the Red Russian kale is wilting.

But that’s nothing to worry about.

“It takes energy to keep a plant taut and tight,” Detanico said, adding the plant is not dying. “[The kale] feels like we feel in the heat, it feels worn out.”

The plant is wilting because it is conserving its water, and according to Detanico, it is sending its water reserves to its roots rather than its leaves.


How is your summer garden growing? Use the comments section, below, to share your progress with us.