Discussion Forums - Gardening

Topic: helping gardens survive heat waves---any tips?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: helping gardens survive heat waves---any tips?
Date Posted: 6/29/2012 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,748
Back To Top

Last year the July heatwave knocked out the strawberries in 2 of the 3 raised beds. I watered every day either before dawn cracked or in the gloming of the evenings.

This year we're already in a heat wave in June. I replanted those beds, found the asparagus didn't survive and repanted that as well. It's been 100° every day for a few now and the forecast is for more of this continueing until the end of next week. I'm again watering in so-called cool hours although the nights hang onto 80°, but does anyone have any tips for getting the fruits and veg through this?

It's been a dry June and June is usually the rainiest month here. Everything is well mulched.

Date Posted: 6/29/2012 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,510
Back To Top

Last year I had a very large bed built up over years. About 20x120 feet and actually needing thinning. When it turned very hot in July (average over 95), I started watering them by sprinkling them for 2 1/2 hrs every third day. August broke all heat records. Here, the average daily high was 98.6. So I watered every other day. Still, I lost over 95% of my bed. Strawberries simply cannot stand that much heat. They are also very shallow rooted and die quickly if the roots get totally dry. Give them plenty of water. That is all you can do.

We have just broke daily heat records set in the awful year of '54 for four days in a row. I have never seen the grass in the pastures all dead in June before. Add a plague of grasshoppers and things are pretty dismal for farmers around here.

Date Posted: 6/30/2012 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,748
Back To Top

Thanks for the post, John.

I'm watering every day at 5am. I wish I could water in the evenings as the garden could then hold it for longer but the evening are too hot.

I posted this at CMT and there are some ideas for shade structures but with 9 of my raised beds needing shade it's probably not going to happen this year. It's also too hot to work outside, those shade structures will need to be made early in the season for next year's garden.

I have started a primitive irrigation system using inverted milk jugs with the bottoms cut out.

Still it doesn't look hopeful as the forecast for the coming week is again temps near 100 and heat indexes even higher. And this June has been one of driest on record, pity because June is usually Iowa's rainiest month. July is usually the hot and dry period.....     Something to look forward to.......

Date Posted: 6/30/2012 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,510
Back To Top

The morning watering is much more important, as it fends off the heat of the day. somewhat.

Date Posted: 7/1/2012 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
Posts: 2,353
Back To Top

Not much else to add Marya, some of the advice you got in the main forum was good, but sometimes it is just too hot for anything to survive.  Sounds like you have a large one.  The farmers in the heat zone are all having the same issues.  Maybe you can salvage the part of the garden most important to you.  Good luck.

Date Posted: 7/1/2012 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,748
Back To Top

Thanks, Carole.

We've started shading the strawberry beds, a tactic I hope will help. I'm also hoping for rain.

We're already eating from the garden and I look forward to the tomatoes which seem to do better in the heat than many other things. The potato beds look forlorn.

Date Posted: 7/3/2012 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2008
Posts: 374
Back To Top
Don't know what your irrigation setup looks like but you might look into misters. Should be able to find them at Home Depot or similar store. They use very little water and can drop temps 15 or more. Also you can get the shade cloth and just prop it up with stakes instead of building a support structure.
Date Posted: 7/5/2012 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,748
Back To Top

Thanks for the tip on misters, Cyndi. I think we have the shade problem handled. We're now using a canopy over the strawberries and sticks supporting old bed linen in other places, snd it seems to be working.