Tips for Gardening in Summer Heat

When the temperatures rise in the summer its time to change your garden routine. This will protect you and your plants.

In early spring I tend to work in the gardens and yard anytime. But as the temperatures rise, it’s easier on the plants and me to work in the morning, evening or on overcast days. Garden plants suffer from heat and stress so working in the cooler parts of the day is equally as good for them as you.

Here are a few summer heat gardening tips.

Working outside in hot weather places extra stress on your body. Sun stoke, dehydration and sunburn can occur before you know it, so take precautions. Watch for signs of excess sun such as headaches, weakness and nausea. Keep plenty of water on hand and stop for breaks on a regular basis.

To prevent dehydration, drink before, during and after working outside. I keep a cooler near the area I am working and stop for regular breaks. There is a shade tree nearby my gardens and I stop and watch the canoes float up and down the creek.

It’s generally best to drink water. If you choose other liquids, make sure they contain only a small amount of sugar because it slows down liquid absorption by the body. Avoid beverages containing alcohol and caffeine.

Try to work in your garden in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler. The plants also enjoy being left along during the hottest hours of the afternoon. Have you ever noticed if you weed in the afternoon and disturb a plant it will wilt? It will pick back up after the sun goes down but that just added stress to the plant, which slows plant production.

Stay in shady areas as much as possible on those hot humid days. There are many outdoor jobs that can be done in a shady area. Or better yet, grab a chair and relax on the porch or under a shade tree. Take time to enjoy the beauty of your yard and gardens.

Wear a hat that shades your face, ears and back of your neck. Wear loose, comfortable clothing in light colors that does not attract the sun like black or other dark colors do. Also remember the sunscreen and apply to any exposed skin.

Apply mosquito repellent when you go out to work in the yard or garden. Many areas have West Nile disease so take precautions. Early morning and evening are when mosquitoes are most active.

Put off the heavy difficult jobs for mornings or evenings. These include week whacking, moving garden containers or dirt  and any digging.

Finally, take frequent breaks and try not to stay outside in the heat for extended periods.

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