It has been such a hot summer so far here in Kansas and many other places in central United States. Although the heat did come down for a while we have still been without much rain. Last night as I was driving it was very clean by looking at all of the ponds how bad it will be for livestock owners this year if we do not get rain. The temperature is back up so I need watch my garden some more. Their are some ways that you can reduce stress on your plants.

I had a very poor harvest of corn. Because of the heat although I watered the wind and heat made to silks dry too fast making uneven pollination.  I am hoping my popcorn and blue corn will do better but so far it does not look good.

1) Mulch.

If you put at least 3 inches of compost, hay or other materials a round the plants it will help keep the roots cooler and keep the moisture in.

2) Proper watering.

Plants need at least an inch of water per week and sometimes more when it is really hot and dry. Right now with the wind the plants will be stressing even more. The best ways to water are with soaker hoses or drip. In my vegetable garden I have PVC pipes with holes cut in them to water my plants. It is a less expensive way to do drip and I get less damage form animals. Except for, of course, an waywardly  mule that will crush them up.

3) Provide Shade.

In some situations you can shade the plants with shade cloth or even muslin or bed sheets to keep them from getting too much sun and heat. I am planning to do this with an azalea I planted. It turned out not to be as shady an area in the summer as I thought it would be under this tree.

4) Fertilizer.

You might want to really stop all fertilizer but if you do be very careful. Limit the amount of nitrogen and you might want to consider a fertilizer that is slow release.

Good luck with your summer garden.