Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tips to Help Your Plants Beat This Scorching Heat

There is only one word to describe our area the past few days....deadly heat. It it rarely 106 degrees in our area,  even in August. This is only July and the beginning of summer.  I already had most of my garden planted.  When this abnormal heat wave began, I had to think fast to try and save my garden.  We have little shade on this property so I needed to use creativity to 'create' some plant relief from the heat.

Water Deeply:  I water my plants twice a day. The heat just sucks out the moisture from the soil.
Plants in pots will dry out more quickly than plants in soil.  The roots will burn up in the pots. Cover black plastic pots with cardboard or other material to help save the roots. Put potted plants under trees, under taller bushes, or under shade cloth.  Mulch these plants as well. You may have to water more often than once or twice a day. 

Mulch all your plants! I used rotted straw.  I had two bales of rotted straw ( $9.00 a bale) sitting on the property.  I took that rotted straw and mulched around all the different plants. Then I soaked it. Rotted straw holds moisture better than good straw. In this bed there are two pepper plants, blackberry bushes, and some beans. Before the mulching, the pepper plants nearly died with the heat. As these baby beans get taller, I will add more mulch. I also added shade over them with a pallet and old wood.  The pie pans suspended from twine helps to keep the quail out.

Create shade with cardboard, boxes with the sides cut out, old sheets, shade cloth, pallets, old wood....anything that will help shade them when the temperatures reach triple digits.  These tools may not land your garden into the Better Homes and Garden Magazine but it will save your plants. Times are harsh so use what is at hand or cheap to get the job done. 

This bed of Comfrey plant is covered with an old fitted sheet.

These boxes with the sides cut out, top remaining is covering three little elderberry plants that were getting burned by the sun. They are surround by mulch as well.  Doing this is showing a difference in only two days. Their leaves were burning away in the sun.

Create Micro-Climates:

Picture #1 below shows the placement of this wooden container of pepper plants underneath this huge Russian Olive. The Branches help shade the pepper plants and protect them from the winds.

Picture #2 shows this tomato planted in this large trash can moved over to an area with these large elm trees in back of it. The trees also shelter it from the winds we get here.  The air is cooler there because of the trees.  It has some shade and sun during different parts of the day.

Move potted plants under shade trees or near hedges. 

I had to be careful how I placed this plant. I have chickens and ducks behind the pallet fence. They can fly up on the edge of the pallet fence. They roam the whole property but this area is their shade yard. The duck pools are in under the trees too. Chickens will eat your tomatoes, green or ripe. They will also dig in the planter if you don't protect the plant.  All my garden areas are protected by either chicken wire, plastic fence wire, or cages. We have quail, chipmunks, wild rabbits, and the farm ducks and chickens. 

Hope this helps.....keep cool with lots of water!  God bless all of you.
Happy July 4th tomorrow. Drive safe....don't drive and drink!

Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin