There are certain easy precautions gardeners may take to combat the heat and keep a garden flourishing, no matter how hot the summer is.
The majority of common food crops and natural plants can tolerate periods of extreme heat without losing their vitality.
The shallow surface roots, on the other hand, are unable to survive the stress of severe heat, which dries and coats the top few inches of soil.
A gardener can mitigate the impact of a heat wave on developing plants by paying attention to the state of the soil. You may try some of these tips:
1. Mulch with dried grass clippings, ideally a reflecting mulch
Applying a generous layer of mulch around the plants is the first line of defense against hot weather and windy circumstances that might dry up the surface soil.
This shields the soil from direct sunlight, allowing it to stay wet at the surface. Mulch also minimizes water evaporation from the soil, lowering the need for watering.
Gardeners may utilize a variety of mulch products in their landscaping. Light-colored mulches will reflect sunlight and assist maintain cooler surface soil conditions during a heat wave.
2. Water your plants and yard first thing in the morning
A heat wave may swiftly dry down topsoil, dehydrating weak roots. In warmer weather, water is lost via the leaves, so your plants will need to be watered thoroughly. This should be done first thing in the morning, especially if you water with a sprinkler because the majority of the water from a sprinkler is lost to wind and evaporation during the hotter parts of the day.
Watering first thing in the morning also avoids heat scald, which may harm leaves if watered while the sun is directly above. Seed and nursery beds, as well as smaller raised beds and containers, may require a second watering later in the day if the weather is really hot.
Water conservation is especially important during a heat wave. Hand watering offers the benefit of providing the exact amount of water required for each crop. In comparison to sprinklers, it is also a more efficient way of watering because only the targeted crops are irrigated.
Since plant leaves are not wetted, a soaker garden hose is great because it may be used at any time of day. Soaker hoses may be buried beneath the mulch to provide direct access to the soil while remaining concealed from view.
3. Use shade cloth or row covers to protect your plants
Shade cloth provides partial and temporary sun protection for garden plants and is available in a range of sizes, shade factors, and combinations at garden centers. Shade factors relate to the amount of sunlight that is obstructed and can range from 25% to 90%. Plants that are sensitive to heat, such as salad greens, may require a 50–60% shade factor, but heat-tolerant plants, such as squash and beans, may benefit from a 30 percent shade cloth.
Although a shade cloth is only temporary, it should be placed such that it blocks sunlight without limiting aeration. Shade fabric does not need to be completely encircled around plants; frequently, just one side or above the plant would serve.
4. Hide fresh transplants under higher neighbors’ foliage
A heat wave is especially difficult for transplants. Young starter plants have short root systems that are more vulnerable to drying conditions in the top few inches of the soil.
Before planting transplants, you should wait until the heat wave has subsided. If you have transplants to send out, look for plants that can give partial shade, such as taller, more established plants.
You don’t want the transplants to be in direct sunlight, so seek barren patches in the garden alongside plants that are about to mature and will be plucked shortly. When the transplants are more established, the sun will be available to them.
5. Maintain a lawn height of at least three inches.
Longer shadows are cast by higher grass and that makes sense. Additionally, the additional shade provided by leaving your grass longer than usual will benefit the soil by assisting in the retention of moisture. Some groundskeepers raise mowers as high as six inches during heat waves or drought conditions to achieve a shade benefit.
During a heat wave, avoid fertilizing your lawn or garden since the roots’ capacity to absorb nutrients is reduced. Before fertilizing your garden vegetables and grass, wait till the temperature cools down.
Heat waves are generally brief enough that gardeners can manage to grow crops that are successful. Longer heat waves, on the other hand, are more difficult, and crops may be stunted or yields lowered.
Unfortunately, the long-term prediction for our climate suggests that we gardeners will need to improve our hot-weather gardening abilities in the future years. In the next years, the above-mentioned actions will very certainly be general knowledge. Read and enjoy!