Maintaining a garden during the summer months is a challenging task even for an experienced gardener, not to mention amateur enthusiasts like you and me. As much as plants love sunlight, extreme temperatures can have adverse effects on their development and well-being. This article will try to list a number of possible solutions to this problem and, even if you are not able to apply them all, using some of them is certain to give positive results and help you and your crops survive the long, hot summer.
Maintain the Moisture of the Soil
To begin, it is of the utmost importance to always make sure that the soil around the crops is moist enough for plants to be able to feed from the ground and gather from it all the necessary nutrients. Since you probably cannot afford to constantly tend to the plants, it is a smart idea to purchase drip irrigation hoses or some other irrigation devices, like soakers for instance. By doing this you will have made sure your plants have a strong base to develop from. This, however, solves only one half of the problem.
Sprinkling can Provide a Temporary Refreshment for Your Plants
The other half is the more problematic one – exposure of your plants to the direct sunlight which, during the late summer months can damage the plant bodies and prevent them from developing fruits.
The short term solution which can be helpful in some instances is sprinkling the plants in order to cool them. The best time of day to do this is late afternoon. However, you need to know that sprinkling your plants can also have some negative effects on their development and may endanger your crops.
When the Sun Becomes Scorching Hot, Use Shades
Sprinkling might often seem like a good solution, but the fact is – it is not particularly friendly to the environment due to the fact that it significantly increases water consumption. The better idea is to employ shades for this purpose. In case you maintain large areas under crops, consider building high tunnels. If not, a simple canvas or panel will do.
If placed strategically, shades can be very effective in lowering the temperature of air and protecting your plants from direct sunlight. In case you are cultivating taller crops you should think about placing shades in a way that protects bases of the plants. This tends to be sufficient for their preservation.
In a recent conversation with a reputed company offering marquees for sale, it was brought to my attention that an important thing to bear in mind when installing shades over the plants is to make sure you leave some breathing space between the plant and the shade in order to prevent heat accumulation around the plant. A couple of inches will do, just enough to let them “breathe”.
Watch out for Yourself, Too
While protecting your plants from overheating, do not forget yourself. Wearing wide-brimmed hats and bright clothes which cover as much of your body as possible is a must. To avoid the strongest sun, make plans to visit your plants early in the morning and in the evening.