Tips for helping your garden:
- Observe and plan your planting -> When you have hot summers the first thing you need to do is plan what plant will occupy which bed. Every garden has parts of it that are more and less exposed to the sun. There are some plants that tolerate the heat better than other. Plants that like/ don't mind the heat are tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers(when they have enough water). Keep your cucumbers, beans and brassicas away from the heat if you can.
- Water your plants in the evening or early morning -> The best time for watering is in the evening. This way your plants will have time to regenerate overnight. If you can't water them in evening you can do it in the morning before the heat starts. Use drop by drop watering system if you can or sprinklers when drop by drop is impossible. Most of the plants have small roots so they will get more water if you water the soil and the leaves. The plants that have deep roots(tomatoes) can get enough water from deeper layers of the soil. Never water your plants while the sun is on them. The plants will feel like you threw a glass of water in the face of a thirsty man. The water will evaporate too soon and there will be no use of it.
- Mulch your garden -> The best way to preserve the water in the garden is mulching. After you watered your plants mulch will stop the evaporation, also mulch will help to make dew and it will protect your plants from dry soil.
In the last few months I've heard many times that some people are trying to convince others you can mulch only with straw. And then I see people wasting money to buy straw for mulching while they have a whole meadow of beautiful grass.
You DON'T need straw to mulch. You can use any grass and old plants as long as you leave them one day to dry.
For example you mow your lawn, leave the grass to dry for one day and feel free to use it for mulching.
I use almost all green plants in my garden for mulching.
For my beans I used grass which we got from scything the yard. You can see I placed it between the plants.
This is a good way to mulch if you want to keep your paths mulch free. This is especially good on downhill gardens cause there is no fear of slipping on mulch. Also you can be sure your mulch won't break your plants and they will still have enough protection(until Nero sits on them ☺ )
On my French beans I used leftover beans I pulled out just a few days ago. Since beans like water this will keep the soil moisture longer.
For the peppers I used pea plants. After the harvest I left them to dry for a day and they work the same as any other mulch.
You can also use leftover vine leaves, fallen tree leaves, even flower leaves you removed while pruning your plants. Just don't use thorny plants. You'll have a difficult time harvesting your vegetables around them :D
- Make your plants a green shade -> Plants that don't like strong sun love the shades. The easiest way to shade your plants is by planting taller plants around them(this brings us back to planing) for example plant your peppers between 2 beds of tomatoes. They will be protected from the direct sun and your peppers won't suffer heat stress. Also you can plant some other plants between you vegetables to give them shade. Dill is an excellent shade plant. Just place it between peppers and it's flowers will make little umbrellas for the peppers.
This year I got seeds from Sorghum to get green shades.
I plan to collect seeds from it this year and use it to shade my plants next year.
It's already working even without planing it.
There is a bed with brassicas under the sorghum and one that has no sorghum.
The one without the shade looks awful. The heat is slowly killing it
But the one with shade is growing. Slowly but it's already making heads and with watering it will grow in to a nice vegetable.
And the last tip is:
- DON'T weed your garden -> yes I said it. Now I know there will be people laughing but it is the truth. Weeds help when there are high temperatures. They act like almost everything I said before. Some of them grow tall and make shade, some of them cover the soil and act like mulch and some of them have long roots which help to soften the soil cause when it's hot the soil turns in concrete.
Another great thing with weeds is you can always laugh at your pets when they decide to roll around on them ;)
With this small tips my harvests are getting bigger every day. So this day I got 5 kilos of potatoes, 5 kilos of tomatoes, a zucchini
and 500gr of chili peppers
After using all the tips all you can do is wait for the heat to pass and hope to get some rain(we still have none).