As it gets hotter out, don’t scorch the garden!

It is nearing 100 degrees today in the Northeast and if you have been following my gardening blogs, you might imagine that I am concerned. Some of my plants, like the tomatoes and the peppers, love the heat and they will thrive in this scorching sun and humidity, but other plants of mine, like the leafy spinaches and lettuces, which are made up almost entirely of water, could wither. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t water your garden at night as mold could form. You want to water it during the day so the sun and warmth will allow it to get absorbed by the plants.
  • However, don’t water the plants just before or during the period when the sun is blazing down on your garden as the glare can actually burn the plants. Water them either early in the morning before the sun is too high, or later in the afternoon.
  • Plants in containers, especially if they are not self-watering containers, need more water than those in the ground. The ground is so vast that it contains more nutrients and more soil, so inevitably the supply of moisture is greater. Last year, I saw this with my basil. I planted some in pots and some in the ground and the ground basil flourished while the potted plants were weak and their color was more faded. So in addition to making sure they are keeping moist, make sure the pot is big enough so they have room to grow.
  • Tomatoes especially need water every day. If you are concerned about wasting water, consider creating a cistern to capture rain water and use it on your garden. You can’t ask for cleaner water so why not try to grab a little bit o’ Mother Nature? You do this by creating some kind of water collection system that sits at the end of your gutters, for instance. This water is not for human consumption, because once the rainwater hits the gutters or the roof, it starts picking up dirt and debris along the way that you don’t want to put into your stomach, but it’s fine for the garden.

To learn more about creating a cistern, try these websites:

University of Florida

Urban Design Tools


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