With the central and southern states breaking all high temperature records, day after day, we could definitely use some rain! I’m finding myself watering more and more often…because I simply can’t stand to see all of our hard work crumble away in a heap of dry leaves and withered fruit.
We have heard reports of a small town in south Louisiana with a watering ban. I feel guilty whenever I use massive water resources to irrigate our gardens. Mostly, I think I feel guilty because I know there are other choices!
Some of the best ways to combat a lack of water and high temperatures are also some of the easiest!
Let’s start very simply:
- Don’t plant varieties not suited for your area and/or climate. We would love to grow coffee bushes. Unfortunately, they need high altitudes to grow well. Not going to happen. Save yourself the heartache and frustration and grow what is suited for your region. 🙂
- Don’t plant out of season. Sometimes, a plant’s viable growing season can be “pushed” by providing the tender plant with extra water. If you must push a plant, try to provide extra shade instead of extra water.
- Do not water in the middle of the day. Even though your plants may be begging for liquid relief, do them a favor and wait until evening or morning to water. Watering a plant mid-day causes it to open its cells wide to receive the moisture. This is a good thing if those cells are also shaded by rain clouds. Otherwise, the large cells and burning sun unite to cause a veritable sunburn to your little plant!
What should you do? The best tip I ever read for gardening along the Gulf Coast and in the Deep South was to follow xeriscaping tips. Because our summer months can reach extraordinary highs and drought is always possible, conditions can become desert like through late June/July and August. Please take a moment to follow the xeriscaping link for some really great tips!
What do we do here at Little Green Bees?
- we use lots of organic matter.
- mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch–add the mulch into the soil and on top of the soil. my favorite is pine bark mulch
- the addition of peat moss to the soil/vegetable beds is said to increase moisture retention in the soil
- follow the principles of square foot gardening. let the plants shade each other’s roots.
- follow companion planting principles. squash can shade the roots of beans and corn. that’s just the first example I could think of. 🙂
- plant trees in areas to shade your garden. you will enjoy working in a shaded garden more than you know! 🙂
- if all else fails, erect a shade cloth over an area you would like to protect from the intense heat of the summer sun.