As the summer gets hotter some vegetables suffer if not tended. Follow these three methods to keeping your raised bed garden producing a good harvest.
Water In the heat of a Tennessee summer, our vegetables need an average of 2 inches of water a week, but our dry season rarely provides that in rain. Watch your plants for signs of wilting, poke your finger in the soil to feel if it’s dry. Water a 4x4 raised bed deeply (for about 10 minutes) two or three times a week. Watering deeply encourages the roots to grow deep, making the plant healthier as it finds water deeper in the soil.
Mulch Adding a 2 inch thick layer of organic material to the top of your soil around your plants will help prevent evaporation, hold moisture longer, prevent weeds, keep the soil cooler and eventually break down adding nutrients to the soil. Use shredded wood, pine bark mulch, pine straw, or a mix of grass clippings and shredded leaves.
Weed Weeds steal moisture and nutrients from your plants. Many weeds also encourage insect pests and diseases to pop up in your garden. They are easiest to pull when they are young and the soil is moist.
For more info visit UT Extension online for Warm Season Home Gardening publications. Also talk with a farmer at farmer's market - or visit your local community garden and share your gardening experiences.
- Autumn Shultz