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Aug 9, 2011
Summertime blues
Burpee  Edible Gardening Team Members

Is your vegetable garden exhibiting a case of the summertime blues? Heat and glaring sun can do a lot of damage to your plants, especially as they get nearer to harvest. Since no plant can live without it, make every drop of H20 count.

Watch for wilting. Be sure to water your vegetables and herbs at the first sign of drooping to keep them healthy and thriving.

Water deeply and regularly. A thorough and deep watering of the soil builds deep, healthy root systems.

Water early or late. Do your watering in the cooler morning or early-evening temperatures. The wind will be calmer, the sun less hot and less moisture will be lost from evaporation. (Note: Plants and foliage that stay wet overnight could lead to disease, so time your nighttime waterings carefully.)

Use a rain gauge. This handy tool shows how much water your plants have received. You can use a purchased rain gauge or make it yourself. Simply put a shallow container out in the open and measure how much water accumulates when you water or after a rainfall. The optimum measure for plants is 1 inch of water per week.

Keep an eye on your containers. The soil in your planters dries out faster than a garden bed, so be sure to check containers more often, especially on warmer days.

Adjust your schedule according to the season. Remember, your plants need more water now than early and late in the year. Healthy harvests need plenty of hydration!

For more help, check out this audio tip from Joe Lamp'l on water-wise gardening. More seasonal garden help can be found under our "Garden Help" menu above.

Reader Comments (1)
Consider recycling your greywater and installing rainwater tanks too. Here in Perth, Western Australia, we are fast becoming experts on keeping gardens alive during our long, very hot summers.

Mulching is also essential to retain moisture. I love using sugarcane mulch (a waste product of the sugar industry) but aged manure, compost, lucerne or hay are equally good.

Remember to stay cool and drink plenty of water too.

Happy hot gardening!

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | Melissa ~
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