Green Thumb: Summer Heat and Our Gardens

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ROCKFORD, Ill (WIFR) – This week on Green Thumb we’re talking about a topic that really invaded the area early on this summer, but has now since backed off some in recent weeks. Summer heat and humidity. Prolonged periods of well above average temperatures can often have a profound effect on how our garden looks and performs.

Did you know that on average each week in August we evaporate around 1.14 inches of water? That’s over five inches for the entire month! This makes it especially important to make sure that we keep up with a regular watering routine that stays consistent. Mulch around each plant is also really going to go a long way in insuring that moisture is retained more efficiently in the surrounding soils, according to Grant McCarty, a University of Illinois Extension Educator or Local Food Systems and Small Farms.

"With the high heat and humidity as well as the rain it’s just best to kind of watch what the weather is like as well as what the rain is like, too. A good mulch around the plant can sometimes stabilize some of the increases and decreases of the rain and the humidity that we see. Some of it is just kind of waiting it out to see how it’s really going to be affected."

This is another reason to consider purchasing a rain gauge. They are very inexpensive and will give us an idea as to how much additional moisture we may need to add to our gardens each day. When it comes to installing a rain gauge, you’ll want to make sure it’s located in an open area, preferably near your garden, to obtain the most accurate readings.

Have a gardening question you would like answered in a future Green Thumb segment? Send it my way! E-mail or contact me via