Save your veggies from summer heat

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Local nursery owner George Ciebert begins the day at 6 A-M with the water hose.

Ciebert and his crew work from dawn 'until dusk, battling an unforgiving summer sun.

He admits this is the driest he has seen it in over 50 years.

"It just lingers on and on and on."

The 5 wells on his property also run around the clock.

"We'll water continuously, continuously out here--because we have a pretty big nursery--and we'll turn the water off somewhere around 7 at night."

Grasses and gardens across Region 8 are yellow with thirst, as less than a half-inch of rain has fallen this month....swelling the yearly rainfall deficit to one foot.

He says the extreme heat and lack of rain weaken plants, leaving them vulnerable to disease.

"It seems like the hotter it gets, the more problems you have. Now, that's true in your shrubs, your lawn, and your garden."

Ciebert has dealt with Septoria Leaf Spot in the midst of this hot, dry weather, which can be treated with a fungicide such as copper soap, during cooler weather.

And with nearly 65% of the state of Arkansas now classified under "extreme" drought, he says mulch is vital to keep the roots cool and moisturized.

"Anything you put around that plant to hold moisture, the better off you're going to be."

Combine a good mulch with proper shade during the midday heat, and your veggies should make a quick turnaround...just don't forget to water.

"What you need to do when you put plants out now, is subsidize your sprinkler system with a water hose. Get out there and water it. Give it a half-gallon to a gallon, according to the size of the plant."

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