Summer heat is uncharacteristically warmer in many areas due to climate change. A garden that does well in cooler weather might seriously start to suffer when the mercury rises. In this article, we will look at ways to keep crops cool during hot weather.
When Watering and Mulch Aren’t Enough
Is the summer heat brutal? You might mistakenly think that keeping the soil most in our garden using soaker hoses and applying a thick layer of mulch will suffice to promote a robust harvest even in extreme temperatures. However, sometimes watering and mulch aren’t enough for flowering plants, veggies, and fruit producers.
When the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, many plants will flourish and set blossoms, but they will then abort the flowers so no fruit sets in the high heat even with sufficient irrigation. When the temperature is 90 degrees, plants will often stop flowering, and certain types of garden plants such as eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers will stop having trouble with pollination.
Cooling With Water
A late afternoon sprinkling or misting can help excellent plants down considerably. Commercial farmers frequently use the method to bring the temperature down in the garden to prevent flower loss and encourage renewed pollination. However, some areas are under drought warnings and will not allow you to cool plants off in the afternoon using water.
Shading devices are another option to cool plants in a summertime heatwave. You can run snow fencing, or you can use pre-assembled sections of picket fence along the south or west side of plants to provide them with shade during the height of the afternoon.
The use of lightweight cloth to create shade covers also works well to keep plants cool. You can buy shade material at most garden supply retailers or online.
Use old sheets to make our garden shade covers. Position them so they are several inches above the plants and can successfully start retaining heat. The old screen also makes a great shade cover.
Another option for shade cover is narrow panels of a lattice. If the plants are too tall and you cannot put shade covers over the plants, then position sunscreens alongside the plants to help protect them during the afternoon.
Growing Leafy Greens in High Heat
The use of shade covers also helps you continue growing leafy greens even as the mercury climbs. As most farmers know, lettuce varieties and spinach often develop a bitter flavor if grown in high heat, so cultivation during the hot summer months is often avoided. However, shade covers and even tunnel gardening using shade covers lower the temperature to encourage sweet flavors in the leafy greens.
Remember, when gardening using shade covers, your plants still require sufficient moisture and nutrients. Also, weed frequently to reduce the competition for moisture. Maintain a timely nutrients schedule to also meet the nutritional needs of your plants, so they continue to flourish. At Humboldt, we carry a complete line of nutrients to meet your garden’s needs. Contact us to learn more.