Regardless of where you live, it’s likely you have some climate challenges to deal with when growing food. Dry hot conditions with no rain make it especially tough. It’s particularly difficult growing food in extreme heat with drought due to low rainfall. El Nino weather patterns and a changing climate are affecting food growers globally. Home gardeners need a plan and strategies to prepare and cope.
Growing Food in Hot Dry Weather
Here in my subtropical climate in SE Queensland, Australia we experience five seasons of different lengths. Some months are almost perfect food growing conditions and others are extremely challenging.
During our summer months – December through March – it’s typically hot and uncomfortably sticky. We can get sudden storms which often bring torrential rain and even hail, flooding the garden and potentially damaging plants or even destroying them. Hail damaged leaves, fruit and stems are more vulnerable to diseases as the plant tissues are exposed to pathogens.
Baking hot days often results in heat stress and scorching temperatures can cause sunburn. Many plants can suffer dehydration very quickly. Exposure to intense direct sunlight, higher-than-average temperatures and wind, without sufficient soil moisture is a recipe for plant damage and poor yields.
During storm season, strong gusty winds can stress plants, particularly if they are hot and dry. During storms, wild weather can cause stems and branches to easily snap or fruit to drop. Wind also causes fungal spores to spread quickly, worsening diseases like powdery mildew.
Not to mention the pest insects and diseases that thrive in hot, humid and windy conditions! At times it seems like everything is stacked against us as food gardeners.
An El Nino weather pattern can be particularly harsh with drier and hotter conditions than normal. I find the best way to cope is to know what to expect in your climate and be prepared with suitable strategies.
Likely you have difficult weather at times too. So, what can you do to help protect your precious plants?