Plants in the garden need a little bit of help with this heat so we’re going to give you some tips this week.
Keep up with your irrigation. Most gardens use about a third of an inch of water a day during August, so when you apply water, put it on in longer irrigation cycles. I’ve had really good success with two big irrigations each week, for a total of about an inch and a half of water. It really helps that I have drip as well, so if you don’t have drip, think about that as something you might want to do for next year.
Shade also helps a lot. You’ll find that your tomatoes, peppers, cuces and summer squash all do a lot better with some shade. I recommend 30% shade. That’s just enough to take the edge off the heat and the sunlight, and it improves fruit quality, fruit size and my fruit losses have gone way down. So go out and get some shade, build a simple trellis then attach that shade to it, and if your rows are running north and south, put it on the west side. If they’re running east and west, put it on the south side. That really will help with that fruit quality.
Also, start thinking about seeding for fall crops. Fall carrots can be planted now. They don’t like the heat so you might need to use some shade and mulch to help keep the soil cool so they’ll germinate. And then a little later this month, usually about the third week or so, I start putting radishes and lettuce and spinach, and some of those cool-season veggies again. The important thing is to keep that soil cool and keep it moist and those seeds will sprout. If it gets too hot, they don’t germinate.