I was in a local garden center last weekend gathering a few more plants. One of the owners asked me if I was planning on gardening that day. I thought I was.

After about 10 minutes, I changed my mind!

It's been hot here in our corner of the state and our plants need a little extra care as the temperatures rise.

Containers need the most attention. Terracotta pots dry out faster than a container that has been glazed. During hot, dry spells some containers may need to be watered twice a day.

Hanging baskets are often of a light-weight material and should be checked both in the morning and in the evening. Keep in mind that windy days will wick moisture away from your plants, too.

New plantings, whether in the vegetable garden or flower beds, will need to be watered almost every day. Beds that are mulched will retain more moisture, so be careful of over watering.

Established plants will fare better during hot, dry weather. If your perennial beds have been freshened up every year or so with new mulch and have had the addition of compost, they should be fine. If dry conditions persist for several weeks, then water deeply once a week.

Lawns should have an inch of water a week. A once a week, deep watering is best. Allow the grass to grow to 3" to 4". The longer blades of grass will shade the roots and help to keep soil temperatures cooler. Longer turf will also discourage weed growth.

As gardeners, we need to make sure that we give ourselves some extra care, too. Drink plenty of water before you head outside, wear sunscreen, and take breaks in the shade. Try to do garden chores early in the day or later in the evening.

With a little extra care, for both you and your plants, you'll be ready to sit back with a cool drink and enjoy Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of Cole Porter's classic.


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