Provide some TLC for hot plants

Provide some cover for those plants to help with the warm weather

Provide some cover for those plants to help with the warm weather

Master Gardeners

Well, it looks like it will be a “scorcher of a summer.” Most gardeners have said that some of their vegetables are just beginning to break ground. Here are some tips to help them, and you, survive.

  1.  Increase how often you water. Once we reach 100 degrees vegetables, containers and annuals will need to be watered every day.
  2.  Watering in the morning will help with evaporation. Water deeply since you want the roots to dive deep looking for water. Don’t let the water get on your plants.
  3. Look into purchasing a shade cloth. You can drape it over t-posts driven into the ground and secured by zip ties. You can also make a temporary shelter with two parallel u-shaped pieces of PVC pipe. For small spans, you can anchor the ends by pushing them into the ground. For larger ones, hammer a piece of rebar to put the end of the PVC pipe over. Drape a shade cloth over the pipe and secure with binder clips.
  4. Add more mulch to cool the soil – with the added benefit of reducing the weeds.
  5. If you have containers that can be moved, take them into the shade.
  6. Don’t give up. Just because they wilt a bit doesn’t mean they are dead. Keep giving them water and they will most likely get better.
  7. When you plant, consider using a companion plant to create shade.

And what is good for the garden is also good for the gardener.  Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1.  Am I drinking enough water? The CDC recommends that you drink 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes roughly one quart every hour. Drinking at frequent intervals is more effective than a large volume all at once.
  2. Am I wearing loose, light weight pants and shirt and do I have my sunglasses and a hat? My favorite summer garden clothes are my old worn-out khaki pants and old T-shirt and a long-sleeved sunshirt. 
  3.  Am I working outside in the coolest part of the day and pacing myself? In West Texas, we are blessed with low humidity, so our sweat evaporates quickly and provides some cooling effect. Even so, the best time to be outside is in the morning and the early evening when it is coolest.  Remember to pace yourself and take frequent breaks.

We all lose track of time when we are gardening, but if you feel faint, dizzy, confused or nauseated that is a sign it is time to quit. There will always be tomorrow to finish up. Remember, you want to enjoy the time you are outside in your own garden paradise!

If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700.  

Additional information is available at  Click on “Resources.”

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