We've had some hot days lately. As the forecast calls for more days of heat, we need to keep our edible gardens healthy. Here are 3 do's and don'ts for helping your plants thrive despite the high temperatures.
What to do
- Know how and when to water. Water either early in the morning or early in the evening (at sunrise or sunset). This allows plants to take in moisture because the sun isn't evaporating it from the soil. A great solution for this is automatic drip irrigation.
Automatic drip irrigation will:
- Deliver consistent moisture to plants.
- Save you time.
- Lose less water to wind or evaporation because it puts the water directly at the root zone.
- Reduce runoff - saving water and money.
- Add mulch to hold on to the water you've applied.
While there are many varieties of mulch, the purpose is the same: to hold moisture in the soil so it doesn't evaporate and to help control weeds. Natural mulches, like bark and straw, help keep roots cool.
- Provide shade
- Plants do best planted in full sun, but high temperatures and sunshine can become too much of a good thing.
- Use pieces of shade cloth (available at the garden center) and stakes to create a temporary shade structure over plants. It allows light in while keeping plants underneath shaded.
What NOT to do
Fertilize fruits and veggies during a heat wave. Dry plants can take up too much fertilizer which can cause leaves to burn and even die.
Re-pot or transplant This adds more stress. Transplant when temperatures are cooler.
Prune wilted growth Allow it to provide shade to the leaves below. If wilted growth needs to be trimmed, let the plant recover from heat stress and prune on a cooler day.