Extreme weather doesn't mean the end of your growing season. Here are three tips for staying as cool as a cucumber when the forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s or above!
Keep your plants hydrated — early morning is the best time to water. During the cooler part of the day, your plants will lose less water from evaporation, and watering in the morning gives plants time to dry off with less opportunity for foliar diseases to develop. You can also help prevent foliar disease (e.g., powdery mildew) by watering at the base of the plant instead of spraying water at your entire plant.
Your goal should be to water deeply and evenly; the deeper you water, the deeper your roots will establish, and the better your soil will store water. We're fans of drip irrigation, allowing us to water deeply and efficiently. This summer, our twelve-year-old is learning the valuable skill of installing irrigation!
Remember to keep yourself well-hydrated too!
Build Better Soil
Did you know that compost holds several times more water better than soil? Mulch (arborist wood chips or straw – don't use hay!) will also help keep moisture in your soil and keep your soil cooler. Over time, mulch breaks down into compost to help build healthy soil that is microbiologically rich.
Throw Some Shade
Just as you need protection from harsh UV rays, so do your plants! Garden shade cloth is the solution. Your summer vegetable plants still need "full sun." Look for a garden shade cloth that filters between 30% and no more than 50% sunlight. A quality shade cloth is a worthwhile investment that will last many seasons.