Growing Garden Ready For Summer Heat

​With our pleasantly pleasant temperatures for months in the 70s and 80s, we can easily fall victim to the assumption that these ideal conditions will continue and that our garden plants will be as happy as we gardeners. But as we leave at the end of May, the heat of our summer will soon touch us. If we do not change our activities to meet the future needs of plants, now happy plants will become stressed plants. And we gardeners will be disappointed that we do not have the vegetables and flowers that we had planned.
Among the critical elements that must now be achieved to succeed in the summer are planting, fertilizing, watering and mulching.


Make your decisions and place them in the ground or container by the end of the month. They will need several weeks to get used to their new homes and surroundings when they begin to take root to establish themselves, so hopefully the summer heat will wait until the end of June.
Three planting tips help plants establish faster:
Dig planting holes at least one foot wider and deeper than planters and massage the rootballs to loosen existing roots and incorporate some of the planting mixture into the soil.
Create a berm around the edge of the dug soil like an irrigation pond to direct water to the roots.
Place a piece of cardboard or plastic on the south side of the plant to shade it in the sun for at least a week from mid to after afternoon, until the plant remains impertinent all day.


For tomatoes and other vegetable and berry plants that are beginning to bloom, water in a timed release fertilizer to provide food for the extra work the plant needs to do over the next few months of flowering, fruit absorption, and ripening.
Ornamental plants also appreciate additional nutrition.


Water deeply and less frequently to ensure water falls under the roots of plants to keep them well hydrated during our summer heat. A stick or shovel inserted the day after watering alerts you to the actual depth of the water – so you can adjust the duration of the water to make sure it is deep enough each time you water.

Depth guidelines depend on the genetics of the vegetable you are growing. For summer vegetables, these are:

1 foot deep = celery, chard, lettuce
2 feet deep = bean, carrot, cucumber, eggplant, pepper, pumpkin
3 Feet deep = Melon, Pumpkin, tomato
Frequency guidelines depend on your soil, amount of foliage, and air temperature.
Soil-start once a week for loamy soil, twice a week for sandy soil and once every two weeks for loamy soil
Foliage-most common for 5-foot-tall tomato plants with lots of foliage

Temperature-more often when temperatures are above 95 degrees; even more when they are above 100 degrees.
The problem with too frequent watering is that the water stays in the top a few inches of the soil, so the roots of the plants stay there too. Then, when we get our multi-day summer heat, those top few inches of soil are too hot for the roots, and there are no deeper roots in the cooler soil, so the plants are stressed or actually perish.

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