Tips for tackling this month’s problems
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.