Heat, Humidity and your Garden
Well here we are the beginning of summer and getting ready for our first heat wave. I have to say that although I love the summertime, I am not a big fan of very hot and humid weather. Heat is ok, I mean it is summer after all, but when the humidity climbs, I find myself seeking refuge to a nice air conditioned place.
Unfortunately, our beautiful outdoor flowers, vegetable gardens and lawns can't escape it as easily. Most of our gardens like a very warm temperatures, in fact the perfect temperature for optimum photosynthesis to take place is between - 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) - 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit). But over the next week they are expecting higher temperatures and a high humidity as well. So here are some things you can do to help your plants through the heat spell.
If possible do your watering in the morning. This is always a good idea, even for your lawn (if you can). By doing so, it allows time for the water to seep in, and excess to dry off. This is important as it helps keep your soil from getting too damp and allows time for the plant to absorb the water while it is in a more active state. It also gives your soil a chance to dry out and thus keeping away fungus growth.
Because it is also going to be very humid as well as hot, it is even more important to water in the early morning, as the humidity level should be a bit lower at this time. The more humid it is, the harder it is for water to evaporate as the air is already saturated with water. Although our plants require water, they also need to expel excess moisture, so they can properly "breath" and do their magic. So water is important, but getting rid of unused water is too.
Unfortunately, with a prolonged heat and humidity, there is always a chance your flowers will be affected. it is important that you try not to stress them out more than they already are. The more often a plant wilts, then perks up, then wilts again, the more it weakens its system. Not only does it make them weak, but more they become more susceptible to disease and bugs. So try to keep all of them happy as you can.
If we were only getting a heat wave, you could put mulch around your plants to help keep in the humidity between watering. This will help your plants to not dry out, which, if it's very hot, will happen more quickly. But with the air already saturated, it wouldn't be as good an idea to add to an already damp condition. If, how ever, you already have mulch down around the your plants, you can still water in the morning, just don't over saturate the area so it can still dry out between waterings.
It is also important to note that when you water you garden, you also wash away the nutrients in the soil around its roots. So if possible, it is recommended that you fertilize your garden every 2 weeks or so. This will help keep your flowers and vegetables strong and healthy. If you are the forgetful type, you can always get slow release pellets. You simply scatter them around your plants and they will slowly dissolve over time. How ever, you should avoid feeding your plants during a heat wave as they may be stressed due to the weather. I know, I know, you'd think that would be the best time to perk them up, but it will do the exact opposite. So best to wait til the heat spell is over and things are back to "normal" before treating them with some extra vitamins.
Hope this helps all you gardeners out there!