Summertime is the peak of the growing season, but if you're a gardener, it can also be a challenging time. When temperatures start to rise, your garden needs some extra care to stay healthy and thrive. The sun beats down mercilessly, and the temperatures can climb to triple digits. This kind of weather can be tough on both people and plants. These tips and tricks can help your plants to thrive in hot climates and heat waves.
Choose heat-tolerant seed varieties
Some plants love hot weather more than others. Even hot weather plants need some extra love in extreme heat conditions, but choosing the right varieties gives your plants a head start.
Hot weather vegetables:
Watering in Hot Weather
Keep your plants well watered during heat waves and don’t let the soil dry out. It’s important to water early in the day during hot weather. Your plants will have more time to absorb the water before the sun (and temperatures) rise. Watering later in the day leads to evaporation, leaving your plants parched and wasting precious resources.
Mulch Protects Your Plants
Mulching prevents water loss through evaporation and keeps the soil cooler. It also deters weeds, so keep your plants well-mulched, especially during the summer months.
Interplanting & Companion Planting
Vining plants can shade the soil and keep it cool and moist while keeping out competing weeds. Plants that need shielding from the heat can be grown underneath the canopy of taller plants with broader leaves for extra protection from the sun’s rays.
Trellises, umbrellas, shade netting, and strategic planting can provide shade for plants and prevent sunburn. If you live in a cooler climate and have an unexpected heat wave, shade cloth is also a great temporary solution to keep all of your plants cool and can lower temperatures by 10° F or more.
By picking fruit and vegetables as soon as they’re ripe, you can reduce the water stress on your plants. Don’t forget to pick any damaged fruits, too. They’ll use valuable resources and attract pests to the garden if you leave them on the plant.
Written by Teresa Chandler
Don’t give up on your garden just because it’s hot outside. These tricks can go a long way toward keeping your plants healthy and thriving, even during a heat wave.