The hot, windy days of our East Bay summers have many gardeners taking steps to lessen sun and heat damage to vegetables. Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit stop many warm-season vegetables from growing. Winds wick moisture from both plants and soil. Seedlings and transplants are particularly vulnerable. Here are several steps you can take to protect your plants.

When planning your garden, make sure to choose vegetables appropriate to the season. Common warm-season vegetables include: beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, squash, sweet potato, tomato, and watermelon. Cool-season vegetables include: beets, turnips, radishes, carrots, onion, broccoli, asparagus, peas, cabbage, chard, kale, lettuce, and spinach. Warm-season vegetables are usually grown for their fruit, while the leaves and fruit of cool-season vegetables are what we consume. 

 

Mulch, shade, and water help protect against sun and heat:

 

  • Apply a 3” layer of mulch over soil to decrease temperature and increase water retention; light shades of mulch reflect more sunlight than dark colors.

 

  • Install shade cloth, available at most garden centers with a variety of shade factors, to block wind & intense sunlight, and lessen evaporation.   

 

  • Water plants deeply (2 to 3 times a week as needed), preferably in the mornings with soaker hoses or drip irrigation.

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