Handling the heat

Organic carrots

What the late heatwave means for your garden

Back to school usually means back to cooler weather. This week and next are unseasonably hot and dry. This has some positive and some negative impacts on your vegetable garden.

As a plus, the hot sunny weather helps to ripen tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in the garden and will serve to get you more harvest from those plants before the weather turns.  You will, however need to accompany this sunshine with extra watering.Inconsistent watering leads to cracked tomatoes and stressed plants. You want to make sure that the soil is always moist just under the surface.

Challenges include a resurgence of fungal and bacterial diseases like powdery mildewand bacterial wilt. Snip off affected leaves and spray plants with a baking soda mixture.  The leafy greens added to your garden may also be suffering. Roquette, mizuna and bok choy send up flowers and start to go to seed. To keep them producing well, simply snip these flower stalks off at their base.

Radish seeds germinate very quickly at this time of year. Be sure to thin the seedlingsto one plant every 2-3 inches.

Slug populations are robust at this time of year. It is essential to keep the area around the vegetable garden nice and clean. Pull weeds, fill in hidey-holes and overturn rocks to protect your tender new seedlings.