help­ing HAND

Tips for tack­ling this month’s prob­lems

Gardening Australia - - IN THE PATCH -

SHEL­TER YOUR VE­G­IES

If you’re get­ting fried in the hot sum­mer sun, spare a thought for your ve­g­ies! While most sum­mer favourites like plenty of light, when tem­per­a­tures get above 30°C, full sun is a bit full on. Ev­ery­thing wilts, let­tuces lay flat and turn to mush, and to­ma­toes and cap­sicums are se­verely scalded. Erect­ing tem­po­rary shade struc­tures over heat-sen­si­tive crops eases the im­pact of di­rect sun while cool­ing sur­round­ing air and re­duc­ing mois­ture loss. Frames can be a sim­ple tun­nel of wire mesh over a row of let­tuces or a com­bi­na­tion of tim­ber stakes, bam­boo poles and poly pipe over an en­tire bed. Cover with shade­cloth, or­chard net­ting or pest-ex­clu­sion net­ting. The shade rat­ing should be no more than 30 per cent, or plants can be­come weak and leggy. For tomato plants, re­move the cover when con­di­tions aren’t ex­treme to main­tain air cir­cu­la­tion and re­duce fun­gal is­sues.

FRUIT TREE COVER

Sen­si­tive young fruit trees can be se­verely dam­aged by leaf and stem scald, so drive in a cou­ple of stakes nearby and be pre­pared to cover trees with cloth when tem­per­a­tures soar. Es­tab­lished trees that have de­vel­oped a leafy canopy are gen­er­ally okay and should re­cover from mi­nor heat dam­age.

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