The Heat Is On

Summer is upon us and with it comes the heat. Triple digits are in the forecast for here next weekend and the time to prepare is now. How do you keep your plants from baking in the summer sun?  There are several tried and true methods to ensure your plants can retain the water you give them.

  • Water in the morning. Watering in the heat of the day can damage plants, especially leaves. Watering in the evening can create an environment for disease by leaving things moist for long periods overnight. By watering in the morning, things dry up quickly and your plants have that moisture available during the daytime while they are actively growing and producing.
  • Water deeply. Frequent light waterings encourage shallow root growth making plants more susceptible to damage during hot, dry weather.
  • Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! Putting mulch around the bases of plants helps hold moisture in the soil. This is one of the best defenses against evaporation. It also helps regulate soil temperature as well during a heat wave.
  • Use good soil. Healthy, well structured soil is able to hold more moisture and air, keeping a plant’s root system fed and watered and comfortable. Poor soils like those heavy in clay or sand can cause many problems during extreme temperatures
  • Shade cloth.  During extremes, especially if you have less than ideal conditions, even the toughest plants might need a little shade when the mercury hits triple digits. Commercial shade cloth or even just an old sheet could provide enough protection to save a plant from the oven.

Most summer garden vegetables do well even in the warmest weather with a little planning and preparation. If you’re not already thinking about what you need to do, it’s time to get started.

Join us here for more tips, tricks and helpful information.

Our Teaching Series Launch

Announcing our new Teaching Series!!!!

Today marks our inaugural lesson in our teaching series starting with a quick tutorial on the makeup of Soil. Join us HERE and learn what really is down there under your feet AND why it’s important. We’ll have many more to come so check back regularly and follow our BLOG to keep up with new topics.

We hope you have fun learning about sustainable agriculture!

Sustainability. What does it mean?

Sustainability. The short definition is: the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. The easiest way to describe it agriculturally is to put as much or more back into the soil as you take out. I say soil because that is what sustainable farmers really and truly grow. If you concentrate on the health of the soil, plants grow themselves.

Sustainability is much more than just the environment, however. Here at the FRESH Foundation, we consider all aspects of farming and how they can be protected and nurtured and yes, sustained. These four principles are the cornerstones of sustainability:

  • Economic viability; If you can’t make a living, you won’t be able to do it for long.
  • Environmental compatibility; It must be safe for people and other organisms.
  • Socially responsible; inclusive and charitable, good for everyone.
  • Effectively productive; efficiency breeds sustainability and production.
*Adapted from the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences – The Ohio State University

Practices like no-till or strip tilling preserve the integrity of the soil structure and cause minimal disturbance to the microorganisms that are so important to the availability of nutrients to plants.

Responsible use and selection of pesticides (yes, organic and sustainable production still uses pesticides) for specific problems ensures that unintended harm is not done by their application.

Micro-irrigation, sub-irrigation and other responsible watering techniques conserve water and place it only where it’s needed. Inter-planting different crops together increases beneficial insect populations, disease resistance, and crop yield.

Knowledge of soil structure, texture, microorganisms, organic matter, water infiltration and storage capacity, plant nutrient and water needs, efficient production practices, and many more aspects all go into sustainable production. These concepts have been proven to work on the smallest backyard garden all the way up to large farm crop productions of thousands of acres.

We will be covering many of these aspects in more detail as we go. An important part of the teaching farm includes classes to help gardeners and farmers learn more about the details and the benefits of these systems. We hope that you’ll be able to follow along and make your corner of the world a little more sustainable.

JD

Here are some good resources to help you get started;