In most states, July is hot. Really, really hot. It’s the month when I start forgetting to water my plants because it’s just so darn uncomfortable being outside. That might be okay if you’re required to restrict your watering, as so many Californians have to do, but for the rest of the gardeners out there who want to keep their gardens green and lush and their produce plentiful, follow these simple rules:

  1. Water deeply and less often – 2-4 times per week. Root systems need to be drenched, so a light watering that leaves small puddles on the soil surface will dry out quickly in the hot sun. If you are watering containers, then you will need to water most every day because they tend to dry out faster. It would be hard to overwater containers, especially ones that get full-day sun, but beware of overwatering because excess moisture can lead to rot and disease.
  2. Try to avoid watering the leaves of your plants if you can, to prevent disease. You should also shoot for watering in the early morning so that the water has a better chance of being absorbed before the sun rises and the heat causes evaporation.
  3.  Apply a couple of inches of mulch around your plants to help lock in moisture and protect those roots.
As always, keep in mind the different variables that affect your garden or containers such as soil quality, sunlight, and fertilizer.  Every growing season is a learning experience!

If you’ve made some space in your vegetable garden after reaping some tender lettuce or summer squash, you can always plant a new crop for fall!  If you live in a warmer area, you can still plant some heat-loving veggies such as tomatoes, peppers or okra. Successful growers into the fall are broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, carrots and cucumbers.  With a little planning, your garden can continually produce home grown veggies for months to come.