This weekend into next week the Southeast US is expected to have crazy high temperatures never seen in an 100 years, I was thinking that we should document how are plants are doing in during the wave in comparison to how the traditional agriculturalists will likely have a large setback. I might post photos of my own plants here to show how they are doing during the near 100 degree May weather.
Agfabric 40% Sunblock Shade Cloth Cover with Clips for Plants 6.5’ X 20’, Black $18.95 2.
Shade cloth is inexpensive, reusable and is used in the garden or placed over greenhouses. Gardeners in hot regions need to make shade cloth structures to keep crops and some flowers from scalding in the hot sun.
So I tried to post pictures of what is happening on my north central Florida farm, but I guess the website didn't like my phone pictures...or my phone didn't want to upload!
Peach leaves are yellowing, luckily I already harvested.
Everything in the garden is drooping-even the perennials. (There were pics of elder, Roselle, sunflower, cole crops, tomatoes, etc, which I can't post right now) Even the citrus and bananas are unhappy.
We had to give the pigs a sprinkler because there aren't enough pools for them. The cows are going through about 100 gallons of water daily, and there are only 12 of them! The sheep are staying under the trees, as are the cows and chickens...the ducks are staying in their pool for the most part.(husband and I are staying in our pool a lot too!)
My piquino pepper is loving it, though! It's putting out tons of fruits and new leaves.
I wish I could see what is happening to your farm, do you have a layer of mulch down on your garden beds?around your trees? Even though the top layer of mulch is pretty dry, the layer where the roots are very moist and has helped to keep my plants looking good.
Everything is mulched - and when I check the soil it's not bone dry. I think it's just the extreme heat sucking the life out of the leaves. We should be back to our normal temps (90s) in a couple days, so hopefully the plants will normalize - they're all locally-grown varieties that should be adapted to the "normal" weather patterns. (I was even able to over-summer collards and kale last year!)
Edited to add: since we're still at normal nighttime temps (60s-70s) they all recover overnight, don't get droopy until afternoon.
This past winter up here in Maine was the warmest I've ever seen. It caused a lot of damage as temperatures swung around. I lost large sections of my rhododendrons and my arborvitaes all died. Now in May we've hit 80+F twice. It's not surprising here to hit 80 for the first time in July. Heck, our "average" last frost date is something like June 7th...though that gardening advice hasn't been true for a quite a while.
I saw your 100+F days here in May down there. Hope everyone is staying safe.
All over the country we are getting more and more severe weather events per year than ever before and its still rising. Hot days are hotter and cold days are colder(Remember that crazy cold wave in the upper midwest a couple months ago) and also more hurricanes every year. Weird things are happening to this planet.
Here in TN it's warmer then normal for this time of year. Many long time residents are having problems dealing with it. Being a displaced Texan, well, it's just doesn't feel all that hot to me. Not sure we have even topped 100 F. In my opinion it's warm but not unbearably hot. I use a fan at home but not an air conditioner. An air conditioner would feel good sometimes but is not necessary. Most of the time enjoying an icy cold drink while sitting in the shade with a little breeze is very refreshing. Your mileage may vary.
The "official" planting season here normally ends about mid June. I saw the heat wave coming & finished the last bit of planting a little early. With lots of mulch. Trees on the western border of garden provide nice afternoon shade during the hottest part of the day. Those are the 2 things that helped my TX gardens survive summers. Plants established before it reached 100 degrees daily & some shade from the west. Some plants just can't survive 100's for long. Others will slow down but continue to produce. I tend to plant things early & late in the season as well as some things that are a little outside of their recommended zones. Sometimes it pays off if the weather gets quirky.
Here's a few things I instinctively do to stay comfortable in summer.
1. Drink lots of water. A general guideline is if your pee is yellow you're not drinking enough water.
2. Stay in the shade as much as possible. I'll walk far out of the way if it means staying in the shade rather than being exposed to direct sun.
3. Wear a big floppy hat that shades the neck. A thin light colored loose fitting long sleeve shirt can help too.
4. Keep a wet towel handy & use it frequently to wipe down the scalp & skin. Roughly 75% - 85% of cooling is through the scalp.
5. Schedule strenuous outdoor activities for early morning & late afternoon.
6. Do things like grocery shopping & errands during hottest part of the day to take advantage of car & store air conditioning.
7. Find shade to park in if possible, even if it means a much longer walk. Just 5 minutes parked in the sun & a car becomes a solaroven. Seriously, it cooks food very well & if you dehydrate some garlic on the back window ledge a car smells delicious for a few days.
8. Move slowly.
9. Consume extra salt.
10. Start work at dawn. Siesta during mid day. Work more in the late afternoon/early evening.
Alcohol will make it worse. So will being overweight. (not pointing any fingers, it's just a general observation)
I could send some pix but everything looks normal so far. Nothing is struggling yet ......... Lots of mulch. Western shade.
Argue for your limitations and they are yours forever.
I don't know if my residence qualifies at the southeast, but it's certainly the south, and it's been hot. It's been mid-90's this past week and the weather app on my phone has been reporting head indexes of 100-105. It certainly feels like it. I still haven't started my warm season garden. I have tomato and pepper plants I started indoors in february from seed, but moving to a new home and other priorities have had me postpone transplanting these poor little plants. They've been in 4" square pots for like 90 days I'll get them in the ground this week. One of the big reasons for my delay aside from moving was I didn't have any mulch. I had oak chips delivered a few weeks ago, and it was only a few days ago that I was able to move the 25yd pile over to the garden spot. Finally, I can actually get these plants in the ground, and sow some melon, squash, and a few other things. The timing of everything certainly isn't ideal, but it's what I've got to work with, so this summers garden is certainly going to be new experimental territory for me. I believe that with regular watering to get these little guys root bound root structures spreading out, I think I can have a few tomatoes and peppers to munch on in a couple months. I do think that I can have a half way decent fall garden later this season, but here in Tennessee, I know I probably have about 16 weeks of sweltering weather to go before things begin to cool off.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
Location: North Central Florida, subtropical zone 8b