Protecting Crops from Summertime Heat
If you frequently socialize with farmers and hobby farmers , you’ll hear an awful lot of chitchat about the weather, with good reason. Too cold, too hot, too wet, too dry—any sort of imbalance can be enough to stress delicate plants. The best way to protect your crops from a scorching heat wave is to take action right away—before they show the effects of heat stress.
Young transplants are especially susceptible to heat stress. They lack a strong, deep root system, and so they aren’t able to find water far beneath dry surface dirt. When a heat wave strikes just before you’re ready to set out your transplants , you can change their intended destination. Plant your transplants next to taller, maturing plants that you intend to harvest soon. This will provide your younger plants with a little shade during their early days, but they’ll receive sufficient sun later on when they can handle it. For example, you can locate broccoli transplants in the shadow of asparagus stalks.
Shade cloths can be a good temporary solution during intense heat waves. Check the shade factor on any products you’re purchasing. Hardier plants like beans and squash will do well with a 30% shade cloth, but more delicate salad greens could benefit from a 50 to 60% shade cloth. Place these cloths off to one side to throw shade on the plants, while not interfering with aeration.
Mulching is an absolute must. It locks moisture into the soil, and lightly-colored mulches can also reflect the sunlight, keeping the ground cooler. Here is a tip for free mulch—after you mow your lawn, let the grass clippings dry in place for a day or two. Then, use them as mulch.
Watering is best done during the early morning hours. This will give the vegetation time to dry before the sun climbs too high, which prevents heat scald. An earlier watering time also allows more moisture to penetrate the soil.
Stockman's Farm Supply - Wilson is the go-to retailer for farmers and gardeners in Wilson, WI. They stock high-quality lawn and garden supplies at affordable prices. You can call their staff at (715) 772-3128 with your questions about their current inventory and sales.