In large parts of the U.S., late summer heat is no joke, and even the most heat-friendly garden crops like tomatoes and peppers can get cranky during a serious heat wave. But with some smart short and long-term solutions, your garden can survive the heat and stay green and productive.
* Check the forecast. Some plants may droop a bit in the heat, but if the temperature will fall within a few days, your garden should bounce back with a little care and attention.
* Water long and slow. You should do this all season, but especially during heat waves to help saturate the soil and keep plants hydrated and more drought-resistant.
* Give your garden a deep, slow watering the evening or morning before the heat wave hits so the plants have ample time to drink up.
* Don’t over-water. If your plants still wilt during the hottest part of the day, wait until the next morning. If they’re still limp, give them another long, slow drink.
* Focus on the soil at the base of the plant when watering instead of leaves. Droplets of water on leaves or fruit can heat in the sun and sunburn or scorch the plant.
* Try shade cloth for plants that are younger or especially heat-sensitive. You can also use sheets or umbrellas. Move potted plants to shadier locations.
* Make sure to mulch at the beginning of every season. Re-distribute mulch before a heat wave to ensure all plants are well protected.