With +100° weather all over the country this summer, how is your garden growing? Here are some hot weather gardening tips to help you beat the heat and continue to enjoy a delicious harvest.
It has definitely been an unusual June for us. We don’t see 100° until some time in late July, if then. Typically we only have 5 -7 days the whole summer where the mercury rises above the century mark, however, this year we have already broken 100 and seem to be headed for more hot days in the future. It’s another example of strange and unusual weather that has graced our entire planet. Today it is 107° in Spanish Fork, Utah. That is a temperature I have never seen in the 30 years I have lived here. The alarming thing is, its only June. What is our late July and August going to feel like?
Gardens don’t do really well in the heat. Beans and tomatoes stop setting, peppers get sun scorch, broccoli blooms, and lettuce bolts. What can you do to help your garden out when it gets too hot. Here are some helpful tips.
- Double water. It is true that long deep watering 2 – 3 days apart is the best because the roots chase the water down deep into the soil instead of staying along the top. The deeper soil will be cooler and moister than the top. However, if you have sandy soil, that method doesn’t work really well. The water percolates right through the soil. If that is your soil situation, double watering during the really hot days will help your plants. I water in the morning and again at 2:00pm. Using a drip system helps to deliver the water to the roots of the plant and slows evaporation.
- Create a floating row cover. Agribon is a great product that I use to shade my plants in the summer time. It’s a light weight, white cloth, about 4’ wide and comes as long as you need. We drape it over bent metal conduit and create a shade tunnel over the plants. They do really well under the tent. This works well for plants that don’t grow too tall. Another product you can use is shade cloth that is commonly sold at hardware stores. They come in varying degrees of shade and allow light to penetrate.
- Plant heat tolerant vegetables. I love lettuce out of the garden. It was always such a dilemma to me that I couldn’t get the lettuce to hang in there until the cucumbers and tomatoes were ready. Lettuce is normally a cool season crop. It bolts and goes bitter in hot weather. However, if you plant Jericho lettuce in June, which is a variety from Israel, developed to stay crunchy and sweet in hot weather, you will be able to eat incredible lettuce salads with tomatoes and cucumbers from your own garden.
Handling the heat is tough on plants and animals alike. Give your garden a break from the heat with shade and extra water. Interestingly, its what we want too on a hot summer day. Another hot weather gardening tip is to plant heat tolerant varieties that will stay sweet in sweltering weather. Jericho Lettuce can be found online.