Record Temperatures across the US

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My poor, poor readers in the United States! How much heat can you handle? We received a Tweet from “Anita in Texas” that said she had all but given up, and was never coming out of her air-conditioned home again. Oh the Texas heat!

What can you do when it is as hot as Hades? The tomatoes seems to be cracking and cooking on the vine, the peppers are turning yellow and shriveling, the desperate insects (do they feel this heat, I wonder?) have chewed upon most of the bean plants, and the dirt looks like cooled lava.

Dear readers, stay out of the heat on the worst of days, no garden is as important as your health. Lots of water, for you, not necessarily the greenery, even more sunscreen slathered all over, and wear your favourite hat to shield you. The mornings and evenings are best for any work you really feel you must accomplish.

•Since they are drying out anyway, gather up herbs and flowers for preserving. Cut the herbs in clusters with the stems still attached.

• Tough to think ahead, but spring will come eventually. Begin taking stem cuttings for new plants.

• Keep deadheading your garden. Don’t make the plants work any harder than they have to.

• Don’t go crazy with the watering can — surface watering will encourage plant roots to come to the surface, where they are prone to drying. Try a soaker hose to get water straight to the base of your plants.

• Expose any new plants to this intense heat and sun gradually. Keep your purchase or seedling inside for the worst heat of the day for an initial three or four days —  this intense heat will shock the plant if it goes from a moderately shady situation in the local garden centre to your unprotected full-sun back garden.

If you have been growing tomatoes or melons, it hopefully is time to start enjoying your earlier hard work. Sliced melons and tomatoes with some Parma ham might a lovely summer luncheon.

While you eat, why not take a moment to look at our website and read about our wonderful competition to win a yearlong Family Membership to the National Trust, and everyone will win a copy of a dear little gardening handbook, written by yours truly. This book is a fine companion to a cool Pimms, or an iced tea if you are in the southern USA, and a lazy afternoon planning next year’s planting!

Love the life you live,

Arabella

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