Helping your garden stand the heat
African summers have been known to get extremely hot. This type of heat can heat can put your vegetable garden under stress and lead to the damaging of your beloved plants. To protect your garden, have well prepared soil, water on a regular basis and provide shade for the extremely hot days.
Having a good, deep watering routine helps strong root development and reduces surface dwelling roots. During heat waves, it is recommended that you switch from watering two to three times weekly to watering daily especially for soft plants like lettuces. Early morning or in the evening is the best time to water your garden. After sunset, you may also want to reduce the hot air build up in the leaves by watering them but this should not be done too often as it can encourage fungal disease, which helps to decompose dead organic material.
A good short-term solution is to provide cover for your garden with shade-cloth, tablecloths or if you have garden umbrellas, even better. However, if the plants get too used to the shade they will once again experience stress in the sun. If your plants are potted they should be moved indoors as these die very easily as the roots heats up as well as the plant itself.
A long-term solution is to plant your gardens next to an eastern facing wall or a spot that is sheltered by a tree in the afternoon so that it gets the mid-morning and midday sun and is protected from the hot afternoon sun.
Having healthy soil with high levels of organic matter is a great way to help retain water as the organic matter acts as a sponge. You need to continuously add compost into your garden as it decomposes over time due to crops taking nutrients from the soil.
While you enjoy the summer sunshine, don’t forget to keep your garden protected and nourished as this will lead to delicious crops that can be used to create some of the best homemade meals.
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