How do you beat the heat? Get an early start. Make the most of cool mornings. Do yardwork early in the day. Keep yourself hydrated; remember to drink water. Wear sunscreen and avoid too much exposure.
Water your garden early, too, preferably before 8 a.m. Mulch around plants to help conserve moisture, but don’t let the mulch mound around stems or trunks, in order to avoid crown rot.
As hard as it is during drought, try to keep tomatoes, peppers and eggplants irrigated twice a week. These popular summer veggies are at risk of blossom-end rot. This common malady is due to low levels of calcium available for fruit making, usually as a consequence of inconsistent moisture levels.
The rot starts out as a brown spot on the tomato’s flower end (opposite the stem). As the fruit grows, the spot becomes a tough black or brown lesion. (The rest of the fruit is still edible.) The cure? Keep soil moisture as even as possible – not easy during drought or heat waves. While fruiting, mature tomato plants need about 1 gallon of water per day. If you use a drip irrigation system, tomatoes can get by on 5 gallons a week and still produce abundant fruit. Remember: The secret is consistency.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as lilacs now, then leave them alone as they start to set next year’s buds. Non-blooming hedges also can be trimmed.
Remove spent flowers from roses and other shrubs, so they will continue blooming throughout the summer into fall.
If you have room and water, it’s not too late to get a few more veggies in the ground. Plant seeds for beans, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash, and watermelon. Make sure to keep them moist so they’ll sprout and grow.