Most of the northeast is experiencing a downpour for a few days, followed by a heat wave of hot and humid days in the mid 90’s! This extreme weather can wreak havoc on our gardens if we’re not prepared. Lucky for us, we’ve seen this coming for a week and know what to do when the weather gets a little out of hand this time of year.
Where the river is close, the soil is rich, but the water table is high and our gardens in the Intervale are susceptible to flooding time and time again. A year ago this week, a very rainy June was wrapping up with a similar downpour and flooded the lower half of our garden in Tommy Thompson for nearly a day and a half! This year we don’t foresee similar flooding, but with a combination of heavy rainfall and extreme heat, plant diseases lurk! Mildew on your squash and septoria leaf spot on your tomatoes are two common diseases that appear in a wet and warm garden.
So how can we prevent garden chaos in our garden in humid heat? Proper watering techniques.
- AM/PM only!– Mid-day watering can burn plant leaves and most of your hard work will evaporate before your garden can use it. Watering early in the morning and/or when the sun is going down will help plants to recover from a long hot day and prepare for the next.
- Water the base of the plants, not the leaves!– Plants take up moisture (and nutrients!) through the soil via their roots. Wet, soggy leaves hinder good airflow around and through the plant while also creating the perfect environment for moister-based diseases. Watering under or closely to the base of the plant while keep the leaves dry will keep everyone happy and healthy!
- Water entire bed, not just around the plants– Dry soil tends to pull moister from wet soil. If you’re entire bed is dry except for around the base of your plants, they will not take up as much water as you think!
- Even moisture – Keeping evenly moist all day every day helps plants thrive and prevents cracking in tomatoes, kohlrabi, carrots, etc. A thick layer of straw mulch on beds is a great way to hold in soil moisture between waterings, but we’ll save our case for straw mulch for another day….