In Virginia we have had summer heat and dryness earlier . May and June presented many hot dry days and for some people the result is a stunted garden that was hit with heat before the roots and established at a safe depth to thrive in the heat of summer.
After we/you do some “regular” watering to keep everything growing………
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR THIS SEASON?
The next question is , HOW CAN WE PREVENT THIS PROBLEM IN THE FUTURE?
Immediate Solution / Actions:
Water more frequently in smaller amounts. Water directly without sprinkler or over head water spraying gear. This will limit evaporation and get the most water to the roots. The plants will get stronger as the roots spread and reach more deeply into the soil. They will also get more of the necessary nutrients from the soil (and those added), as the roots grow and reach the plant becomes stronger. The stronger plnt will have deeper roots and greater ability to survive tough weather
HOW to MULCH EACH PLANT ? :
If you have mulched already- how thick is it? What material did you use? What if the soils is naked now?…..What do you have to mulch with right now?
BIG MULCH QUESTION(s)- Can water flow through to the soil/roots? Does it remain damp?
You will need a BIO-degradable material and I have found cut grass to be the best option, since it is readily available, porous and lightly colored ( so it won’t get too HOT !!)
Rake up some freshly cut grass ( or use the grass catcher when cutting) and spread it around the base of each plant or along the rows. Strive for a 2-4 inch layer of grass . May build up to 4 inches over 2 or 3 lawn mowing efforts. give each newly mulched plant a bit of water to fix the grass in place and to start the process.
Mulch will serve a few purposes- 1) keep the ground cool 2) break down for soil amendment and BIGGIE 3) will help soil hold the water and keep it with the plant and roots.
Other mulch materials- chopped leaves (if whole- runner through mower), pine needles, shredded paper mixed with leaves or grass [don’t shred
LEAVES OF GRASS
] , wood chips, saw dust, or compost.