Protecting Plants From Extreme Heat

Extreme heat, particularly in early summer when plants haven’t acclimated to the heat, can have harsh effects on the garden. To minimize heat damage there are several things you can do to protect your plants:

Water Properly – High temperatures can take moisture from the top soil quickly, dehydrating shallow rooted plants. Water your plants in the  morning before the peak heat of the day so that water can seep into the root system adequately. Try to water your garden deeply 3 or 4 times per week during the hottest streaks.

Avoid Overwatering – Protect your plants from the damaging effects of overwatering by checking the soil with you fingers to see how dry it actually is before watering. Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal diseases.

Mulching – If expecting extreme heat, a little more than a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around your plants. Mulch helps maintain moisture in the soil, protects soil nutrients from leaching out, and regulates the temperature of the garden bed. Check out our post Mulching for Healthy Soil and Ecosystem for great tips on mulching.

Provide Shade – Providing shade from young plants can be accomplished by companion planting (planting immature low growing plants in the space below taller plants), adding a patio umbrella or a lightweight shade cloth draped over garden stakes to shield your plants from the direct sun and high temperatures.

Choose Plants that are Heat & Drought Tolerant – Plant vegetables and plants that can stand up to the heat.

Vegetables that like the heat:

– Sweet Potatoes
– Sweet & Hot Pepper varieties
– Okra
– Cucumbers
– Corn
– Eggplant
– Beans
– Tomatoes

Flowers that like it hot:

– Lantana
– Zinnias
– Celosia
– Gaillardia
– Shasta Daisies
– Ornamental Grasses

Plant Seeds a Little Deeper – If you are succession gardening and sowing seeds for fall harvest, then plant your seeds a little deeper into the soil than suggested. Since the topsoil can quickly dehydrate from high heat and direct sunlight, planting seeds an extra inch or 2 below the soil’s surface can allow seeds to germinate effectively with less risk of drying out.

Use Safety When Gardening in Extreme Heat – Take care of yourself first so you can take care of your garden! Avoid working in the garden during the peak of the midday heat. Instead, work in the garden in the early hours of the day, slow down and try not to do too much, take regular breaks, and drink plenty of water.

Blog courtesy of Kellogg Garden Products

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