A wide-brimmed garden hat shades my head, a soft bandana covers my neck, and sunblock protects my delicate skin. I water the garden and feed the goats and turkeys early in the morning while the sun barely peaks over the horizon. By the 9:00 am, it will be too hot to be outside.
Routine highs topping 110 degrees makes gardening in the low desert challenging—for me and also the poor plants.
Thankfully, annual flowers and vegetables can be sown during cooler weather. Existing perennial trees and bushes, however, must somehow survive the heat until fall, when they can begin another growth cycle.
Hot garden tips for surviving 110 degrees:
- Three inches of organic mulch (but not directly against their stems).
- Shade screen, especially on the southwest sides of vulnerable plants.
- Companion planting. The picture shows native sunflowers protecting a young citrus.
- Grow in pots that can be moved to a shady or sunny location, depending upon the climate.
- Do not fertilize during hot weather or other times of stress.
- Water properly. A free publication: Watering Trees and Shrubs, published by University of Arizona (http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1298.pdf)