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Beat The Heat!

Or, at least manage the heat. We have been getting calls from gardeners across the country who are worried about their gardens in this severe heat. There are several steps you can take during hotter months to help keep your plants healthy and several ways to plan ahead for next summer by planting wildflower and perennial plants that are drought-tolerant.

Tips for Gardening During Extreme Heat

Wildflower MixWater. You will want to water your plants as much as possible. During the hot months it is important to try to get out in the garden and water as early in the morning as possible. This ensures that water will evaporate from your plant’s leaves before the day reaches its peak temperatures and will prevent burning. This also helps to cool the soil down before the hottest points in the day.

Cover. If you have something readily available to cover your vegetable plants with (such as a row cover), or anything to shade them in the extreme heat, this will help. Direct sunlight in extreme temperatures can harm your plants.

Fertilize. Your flower and vegetable plants will benefit from fertilizer in the hot summer months. We recommend not doing a full feed, but using half of what the fertilizer bag suggests in the summer months.

Harvest ASAP. Ideally, you will want to harvest your vegetables as soon as they are ready. This helps to put more energy back into the plant, increasing its chance for survival in the heat.

Inspect for pests. In the extreme sunlight and heat, many pests such as Japanese Beetles and Cucumber Beetles will hide under the leaves of plants. Be sure to inspect your plants to keep them safe from these harmful critters. You can also try using an Organic Garden Insect Killer to keep pests away.

Planning Ahead

Poppy TurkenlouiseUse Plants as Natural Shade. If you are planting a vegetable garden, next year try inter-planting varieties such as spinach or lettuce underneath natural climbers, like cucumbers. This will help to give the smaller plants natural shade in the summer months.

Plant Drought-Tolerant Perennials. Add perennial plants such as Hostas, Daylilies, and Poppies to your garden in areas where you may not be able to water as much. Once established, these varieties are very drought-tolerant.

Wildflowers! Once established, wildflowers are naturally drought-tolerant and hardy. Try planting varieties such as Coneflower, Black Eyed Susans, our Regional Xeriscape mixtures that are comprised of drought-tolerant wildflowers, or our Dry Area Mixture. Wildflowers are easy to plant, easy to grow, and will provide years of gorgeous, low-maintenance color in your outdoor space.

What have you done in your garden to beat the heat? Please leave your comments below! Happy Gardening!

July 23, 2012 · Amanda Shepard · 2 Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Flower Bulbs, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials, Vegetable Seeds, Wildflowers

2 Responses

  1. Carolyn Aita - August 3, 2012

    We in Southeast Wisconsin are having a pandemic of aster yellows on our coneflowers and rudbekias. What do you recommend to do with diseased plants?

    Thanks in advance,
    Carolyn Aita

  2. Amanda Shepard - August 3, 2012

    Hi Carolyn,

    Thank you for the question. Aster Yellows is a bad viral like disease, which there is no real cure for. Here are some tips for controlling it:

    1. Once a plant is infected with aster yellows, it is a lost cause since the disease is incurable. Early diagnosis and prompt removal of infected plants may help reduce the spread of the disease. Although the disease itself is not fatal to the plant, its presence makes it impossible for a plant to fulfill its intended role in the garden.

    2. Controlling aster yellows is difficult. As long as infected leaf hoppers are around, they can infect plants. A practical way to avoid having problems with this disease is to grow plants that are not as susceptible to aster yellows. Verbena, salvia, nicotiana, geranium, cockscomb, and impatiens are among the least susceptible plants.

    3. Vegetable growers may protect susceptible crops by using the mesh fabrics that keep leaf hoppers and other insects away from the plants. Some growers put strips of aluminum foil between rows because bright reflections of sunlight confuse the leaf hoppers.

    4. Remove weeds in your lawn, garden, and surrounding areas, including plantain and dandelion that may harbor the disease.

    I hope this information helps and please let me know if you have any other questions!

    Best,

    Amanda