Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Garden Care - Extreme Heat

Here in the central states we are under an extreme heat advisory which makes it difficult to keep plants, shrubs and trees hydrated.  

There has been no rain in 49 days and the average daily temperature has been 105 degrees with a low of mid 70’s from 4 to 8 a.m.  

In order to care for my gardens during this extreme heat and drought I needed to make changes to my work schedule and take steps to recycle water for my gardens, trees and shrubs.

My city has resident’s water restriction which allows us to water our gardens every other day.  I water my gardens, trees and shrubs on even days with city water from facet and  and on the odd days I recycle waste water from my home.  

The coolest time of the day is in the early morning and I must use the waste water from shower so all must  bath and shower at night.  When everyone heads off to bed I collect the bath water with buckets for my rain barrel. 

In the early morning I will then attach the hose to the barrel and use this water to hydrate my container gardens, herbs and vegetables.  The waste water allows me to water these plants when I am restricted from using city water.
  1. To help my plants, trees and shrubs to retain moisture I have added 3 to 4 inches of mulch.  I have also set my clock to 6 a.m. and have used this time to water yard and garden and to weed all of the flower beds.  Keeping the bed free of weeds is important as the weeds will absorb the precious water. 
  2. I use this time wisely and will check for garden pests; powdery mildew, aphids, brown grasshoppers.  If garden pests are observed I will treat the yard and garden with Greenlight Organic Neem Concentrate   Neem oil worked well with getting rid of the brown grasshoppers that were eating all of my plants, vines and shrubs.   You can also treat your yard and garden with Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth it is a natural method for control garden pests.  Garden pests tend to be aggressive during a drought.
  3. Because water is scarce I choose the flower beds that were blooming and the fall season flower beds to keep hydrated.  My wildflower gardens have gone to seed so I water them weekly with a deep saturation of 1 inch of water. 
  4. When I water my gardens on my assigned day I tend to saturate the soil by giving the plants a good watering. 
  5. Get to know your plants, they will tell you when they need to be hydrated.  Wilting leaves is a sign.  Water plants, trees and shrubs 1 inch of water per week.

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