With much of the country in the midst of a heat wave, many gardeners are trying to figure out how best to help their gardens cope with the extreme temperatures. Heat stress is a very real problem, both for people and for plants.
There are several things you can do in your garden to keep it healthy and productive. Keep in mind that no matter what you do, vegetable production for crops like tomatoes will slow a bit until temperatures cool down. Lettuces and other salad greens will bolt after a couple of days of high temps. Fruit and blossom drop is common, as is leaf scorch from too much hot sun. You can't avoid these particular problems, but you can make sure that your plants come through the heat with their health intact, ready to start producing again once it cools down.
As far as heat stress and the gardener: try to work in the garden in the morning, before it gets too hot out. Drink plenty of water. And please (please!) stop gardening if you feel light-headed or dizzy. Gardening is fun, and things need to be done, but sometimes sitting down in the shade of your trees is the very best way to spend time in your garden.
Here's hoping you (and your garden) stay cool this week!