May 8, 2024: Warm week warning

From Linda Gilkeson:

Just a quick note to especially remind new gardeners that tiny seedlings are very vulnerable to being killed in hot sun. With the weather finally warming up, the next few days in some parts of the coastal region may see highs up to 25oC [high 70’s F]. While established plants of tomatoes, squash and other warm loving vegetables will thrive at these temperatures and won’t need protection, it can be too warm in midday for small seedlings and for newly sown seeds (they cook because they are so close to the surface and don’t yet have roots into cooler soil). Be ready to shade seedlings at least for the hottest part of the day and keep an eye on the weather forecast in case this turns into a more pronounced heat wave. We have had early May heat waves in recent years that did a fair bit of damage to beds of seedlings and fried the edges of young leaves not yet used to warmer weather.

This week I am also starting to lightly mulch established broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas and lettuce plants to keep the soil cooler and conserve water. Meanwhile, this looks like the a great week to finish planting out tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, etc. as the nighttime temperatures finally look like they will be staying above 9 or 10oC (50oF).

If you are sowing anything this week, lay down newspaper, burlap, cut-open plastic bags from compost, or any other opaque material to shade the soil until the seeds germinate.

Republished with permission from Linda Gilkeson’s Gardening Tips. See Linda’s website to sign up for her newsletter, purchase books, access free presentations and identify pests and diseases which may affect West Coast gardens.

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