Last year’s record-breaking North Texas drought and heat wave were particularly rough on vegetable and herb gardens. Expecting the same weather this year, gardeners can do three simple things to help plants survive the brutal heat.
Water consistently and efficiently. Using a drip irrigation system versus sprinkler or hand-watering applies water right where the plants need it—at the soil surface; almost no water is wasted through evaporation; and the
system can be automated with a timer.
Shade heat and light-sensitive plants with coverings. Control the amount of sunlight by using wood frames with screens that rest over the raised beds. Not only does this protect plants from birds and insects, it provides a natural support to hold a shade cover such as burlap or another solar screening fabric. Cover only the side of the raised bed that gets intense afternoon sun, allowing the plants to still receive sunshine in the morning hours.
Retain soil moisture with mulch. Apply a one-to-three-inch layer of mulch around plants as soon as they begin to grow. Grass clippings, chopped leaves, pine needles and straw are recommended.
Greg Holdsworth is owner of Your Own Victory Garden, which builds and installs organic vegetable gardens and customized garden structures. For more info, call 214-517-9890 or visit YourOwnVictoryGarden.com.