Keeping Vertical Garden Cool in Summer Heat
Have you experienced the effects of the hot summer weather on your vertical garden? With temps the past few days being in the 100°F your plants may become stressed.
In fact, extremely high temperatures can cause heat stress, which may:
- Encourage plants to bolt or simply go dormant. In either case, the plants stop growing.
- Render pollen infertile. This means that your tomatoes, zucchini, and other crops my flower, but they won’t be able to produce fruit.
This summer use these four techniques to help keep your vertical garden cool.
Keep Your Plants Hydrated
By growing in a vertical garden, which automatically delivers water and nutrients to your plants, you are eliminating the tedious task of watering. Heat causes the water in your reservoir to evaporate. It is a good idea to check it at least twice a week to make sure it is at least half full.
When you are refilling your vertical gardens reservoir, remember to add nutrients every other time (or at half-strength). The evaporation caused by the heat results in a more concentrated nutrient solution.
If your plants are wilting during the hottest part of the day (usually in the afternoon) run your vertical garden’s pump continuously. By keeping the water flowing you are ensuring that your plant roots do not dry out. Once the temperatures drop switch back your timer to your normal watering cycle.
Cool Down the Nutrient Solution
Another benefit of growing in a vertical garden is that you have greater control over the temperature of the growing medium. There’s not much you can do to reduce soil temperature. But water temperature is a different story.
You can control the internal temperature of your vertical garden using the following techniques:
- Place your vertical garden far from stone, brick, asphalt, and concrete. These materials absorb heat and continue to release it after the sun goes down.
- Raise your vertical garden with the Tower Garden Dolly or a similar device. This will help to reduce the amount of heat transferred from the ground which often is hotter than the surrounding air.
- Another alternative is to use wood, such as 2” X 4” lumber to raise your vertical garden. Don’t use bricks or concrete pavers since these transfer ground heat.
- Place a pair of frozen, plastic water bottles in the reservoir. When they melt, replace them with another pair. Repeat this process as necessary.
- Purchase reflective insulation from your local hardware store, and wrap it around your vertical gardens reservoir. This trick which is often used by rooftop farms will turn your vertical garden into a giant thermos. It will keep the nutrient solution inside at a consistent temperature while repelling the sun’s hot rays.
The Juice Plus Company recommends that their Tower Garden Mineral Blend nutrient solution inside their Tower Garden vertical gardening system should stay below 85°F.
Provide a Little Shade
You can protect your plants from midday heat stress by temporarily moving your vertical garden into the shade. This simple action can lower temperatures by 10°F.
If you don’t have shade or can’t move your vertical garden consider covering your plants with the UV-resistant Weather Protection Blanket. In a pinch even a sheet will do. Just make sure your plants still get plenty of ventilation. Otherwise you may make things hotter.
I put a large empty flower pot, turned upside down to prevent tipping, on top of my vertical garden than drape my protective cover over it. This helps keep the cover off the top row of plants and helps with air circulation to them.
Grow Heat-Tolerant Plants
Some plants take heat better than others. If you live in the Southern States you may want to consider what you growing during the summer months. Generally speaking, you’ll want to stick with fruiting crops and woody-stemmed herbs and avoid greens.
These 11 plants are known for their heat-tolerant natures:
- Lima beans
Just be aware that even these plants may drop their flowers or go dormant when the temperatures approach 100°F.
Apply these four steps to help your vertical garden beat the summer heat:
- Keep your plants hydrated
- Cool down the nutrient solution
- Provide a little shade
- Grown heat-tolerant plants
In addition to caring for your plants, remember your own well-being when gardening in severe heat. If possible, tend to your vertical garden during the morning or evening hours. And don’t forget to hydrate!
Have any questions I didn’t answer? Leave a comment below or use our Contact Us form and we will be happy to help you.
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