Wilting, Scorching and Bolting – How to Manage These Common Summer Garden Ailments

The summer heat and extended days can be problematic for some plants. With high temperatures, extended hours of sunlight, and increased sunlight intensity your plants may have trouble coping or yielding the result you want. In this Episode, Bryan Traficante, GardenInMinutes.com co-founder, discusses these summer garden ailments and how you can easily manage for them if they surface in your summer garden.


On this episode, we’re discussing common problems you’ll see in your garden during summer, and how you can quickly and easily correct them and manage for them.

Hi everyone, I’m Bryan Traficante from GardenInMinutes.com and this is Episode 15 of ‘Easy Growing’. On today’s episode we’ll be talking about the most common garden
problems you’ll see during the summer and how to correct them. So, during summer of course it’s the hottest time of year and has the most intense sunlight of the year.Because of that, some plants don’t always do well and you have different problems
that arise.

Common Summer Garden Ailments: Wilt, Bolting, Scorching

Three of the most common problems you’ll see during summer gardening are plant wilt, plant bolting, and plant scorching. Wilt is basically when your plant starts to shrivel up a little bit, and curl, and look sickly. Bolting is very common with leafy greens, like lettuce, where a stem more or less comes out of the center of your plant and goes to seed. When it does that, it ruins the flavor the plant and it’s basically done for the season. And then burning is where you have… or scorching… is where you start to see brown spots on plant foliage or fruit that different plants produce. And really the idea behind managing for all this is to control your environment.

Add a Garden Covering

Since we have the longest days of the year and we’re in the hottest time of the year, what you want to do is maintain temperature as well as you possibly can in your garden. It’s a very simple process, basically there’s two main things that we do throughout the year to control for the temperature and intensity of the Sun in our garden. One is to do some kind of covering over your garden bed. You can either use a canvas to block off sun for part of the day, or use a screen material, which is what we generally go for such as this, to disperse the sunlight throughout the day. That way you’re not getting as much intense sunlight on your plants, but you’re also not preventing it from getting sunlight overall. Now screen material, which is what we preferred of course, is easily found at any kind of hardware store. And, if you watched episode 8 of ‘Easy Growing’ Tom our other co-founder showed you how to make this frame that we have to hold it up. It takes a couple of minutes, no tools, it’s very very simple to set it up that way you can put some kind of covering over your garden to block off some of the direct sunlight.

Water More Frequently and Add Mulch

Now, besides putting a covering over your plants, the other way to assist your
garden during the hottest time of year is to maintain soil temperature. The two
ways that we do that is by mulching, and not mulching by the kind of wood chips
that you normally see, but through dead leaves or hay (or pine needles) to use as a layer over your garden soil and by watering. And, the idea behind this is to maintain the temperature of the soil at a cooler rate than you normally have outside.

So if your outside temperature is really hot like it is here in South Florida, it’s about 93 degrees right now, the water can cool off the soil as it gets hotter throughout the day. So what we normally do in our garden is we water about twice a day, closer to around the 10 o’clock 2 o’clock times, just so we can cool off the soil before it gets too hot and affect the root system of the plants. Especially if you’re growing something like a leafy green, or lettuce, or anything that you’re producing for the leaf itself, they don’t do very well with hot soil temperatures once they get above 80 – 82 – they’ll start to bolt and basically ruin the flavor of the plant.

So what you’ll do is you’ll water your soil a little bit more often, the temperature of the  water will help cool the soil down, and the mulch layer on top helps prevent the outside  eat from affecting the temperature of the soil as much and also hold in the temperature of the soil that you now created by watering it. (Note: Greens are very difficult to grow in temps above the low 80’s)

Key Take-Away For Managing Summer Gardens

Alright so those are the common ailments will see in your garden. You’ll see leaf wilt, burning (scorching), and bolting of your plants. And really the idea to prevent, and assist your plants, to prevent this from happening down the road as you grow throughout the season is to control for the environment. Since it’s the hottest time of year, with the most intense sunlight, and the longest days you’ll want to find a way to prevent your garden for getting too hot and having too much direct sunlight on plants that may be a little bit sensitive to it.

So, find some way to cover your garden a bit or break up the sunlight like with our screen material here and of course try to maintain the temperatures or soil as well as possible. Watering more frequently throughout the day will assist in keeping the temperature of soil cooler that way the root systems don’t get too hot and affect any kind of very temperature sensitive plants. And also putting a fine layer of mulch over your soil to help hold in the temperature of the soil and prevent the heat from outside affecting the temperature overall.

Alright. That’s it for Easy Growing Episode 15, thank you all so much for watching. We’ll see you next time!

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