July in the Garden: Hot, Hot and Hot!
Everybody’s made it through the Fourth of July and the heat is on. Day after day has been brutally hot ... and this kind of heat does not play well with others or our gardens.
If you haven't already, this is the time take steps to protect what you've worked so hard to establish. There are a few things you can do to protect your lawn and gardens.
1. Mulch around your plants at least 3-4 inches to protect the roots from the heat and sun. Mulching also helps conserve moisture and as it decomposes it will add nutrients in to the soil.
2. Consider a soaker hose in your gardens. It allows for a deep soaking that gets right to the roots with little waste through
evaporation. Make sure to cover with mulch because they can be damaged by the sun. As with regular water hoses, don't forget to bring them inside during the winter.
3. Make sure to water lawns and gardens early in the morning before the heat sets in and avoid watering in the evening after 6 pm to prevent diseases.
4. Shade tomato blooms and other plants from the sun by tenting them with cheesecloth or an old bed sheet. During extreme heat, plants will cease flowering and can get sunburned...remember the scene in The Godfather?
5. Hold off fertilizing flowers. The summer's heat can cause "fertilizer burn". A better option is to wait until fall to fertilizer to help plants recover.
Those are just a few tips to get you're garden through the Dog Days of Summer.
But wait, there's more! There is still time to plant some great crops now that will take you into the fall. The chart below is from the Urban Farmer Seed Company and shows a wide range of crops that can be planted now and be ready for fall.