Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

Add to My MSN

Market Farmers Share How They Deal With the Heat

8/3/2011 9:27:53 AM

Tags: farmers market, market growing, heat, summer gardening

Despite record high temperatures that are scorching much of the United States this summer, market gardeners keep working. They have to harvest, plant and sell their products, whatever the temperature. Growing for Market magazine recently asked readers to share advice for dealing with the heat, and got great responses from people across the country who have figured out strategies for keeping themselves and their crops cool. Here are some suggestions that might help you beat the heat:

First, be cautious about working outside when it’s in the upper 90s and higher. Take it easy, work for just an hour or two before taking a rest, drink plenty of water, and get up extra early so you can get the hard work done before it gets too hot. One reader says she works until midnight by the light of the tractor; another says she tries to be in place and ready to pick tomatoes the instant the morning light is bright enough that she can see what’s ripe.

Sun hat 

When the sun climbs high, evaporative cooling becomes a grower’s best friend. A Texas grower says she wears long, loose clothing and soaks herself completely with the hose a couple of times an hour. A Missouri grower takes a cooler of ice water and hand towels to the field and drapes a chilly wet towel across the back of her neck, exchanging it often for another cold one.

At the farmers market, growers put soaking wet burlap or sheets under their produce to keep veggies fresh. One vendor revealed that she keeps her feet in a bucket of ice water when the pavement starts to heat up.

Getting new plants started in summer can be a real challenge when the temperatures are in the 90s. A grower in Indiana explains that he spreads compost on the bed, waters it thoroughly and then direct seeds. He covers the bed with several layers of row cover until the seeds germinate. A lettuce grower in Massachusetts, where the highest temperature in 100 years was recently reported, has found ‘Loma,’ ‘Nevada’ and ‘Teide’ to be the most heat-tolerant varieties.

Want more tips? Read Strategies to Help You Beat the Heat on the Growing for Market website.

Photo by Fotolia/Sandra Cunningham

Related Content

Mediterranean Diet Garden

You can grow your own Mediterranean Diet garden in the Midwest. Even a small garden can provide the ...

3 Methods for Heating Greenhouses for Free

Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating ...

2009 Farmers Market Grants Are Available

Secure grant funds for your farmers market, community-supported agriculture program and more by appl...

Virtual Farmers Markets - The Future

Virtual farmers markets make buying and selling fresh farm goods easy and can grow into a thriving b...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


8/9/2011 12:20:38 AM
how to plant veggies

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.