<p>by Amanda<\/p>Or, at least manage the heat. We have been getting calls from gardeners across the country who are worried about their gardens in this severe heat. There are several steps you can take during hotter months to help keep your plants healthy and several ways to plan ahead for next summer by planting wildflower and perennial plants that are drought-tolerant.\r\n<p style="text-align: center"><strong>Tips for Gardening During Extreme Heat<\/strong><\/p>\r\n<a href="\/media\/wpuploads\/sites\/3\/2012\/07\/Wildflowers-Matt-Burry1.jpg"><img src="\/media\/wpuploads\/sites\/3\/2012\/07\/Wildflowers-Matt-Burry1-300x225.jpg" alt="Wildflower Mix" title="Wildflower Mix" width="300" height="225" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-4816" \/><\/a>Water. You will want to water your plants as much as possible. During the hot months it is important to try to get out in the garden and water as early in the morning as possible. This ensures that water will evaporate from your plant\u2019s leaves before the day reaches its peak temperatures and will prevent burning. This also helps to cool the soil down before the hottest points in the day.\r\n\r\nCover. If you have something readily available to cover your <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds">vegetable plants<\/a> with (such as a row cover), or anything to shade them in the extreme heat, this will help. Direct sunlight in extreme temperatures can harm your plants.\r\n\r\nFertilize. Your <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/perennials">flower<\/a> and <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds">vegetable<\/a> plants will benefit from <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/search?keywords=fertilizer">fertilizer<\/a> in the hot summer months. We recommend not doing a full feed, but using half of what the fertilizer bag suggests in the summer months.\r\n\r\nHarvest ASAP. Ideally, you will want to harvest your <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds">vegetables<\/a> as soon as they are ready. This helps to put more energy back into the plant, increasing its chance for survival in the heat.\r\n\r\nInspect for pests. In the extreme sunlight and heat, many pests such as Japanese Beetles and Cucumber Beetles will hide under the leaves of plants. Be sure to inspect your plants to keep them safe from these harmful critters. You can also try using an <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/gardening-tools-accessories\/organic-garden-insect-killer">Organic Garden Insect Killer<\/a> to keep pests away.\r\n<p style="text-align: center"><strong>Planning Ahead<\/strong><\/p>\r\n<a href="\/media\/wpuploads\/sites\/3\/2012\/07\/PoppyTurkenlouise.jpg"><img src="\/media\/wpuploads\/sites\/3\/2012\/07\/PoppyTurkenlouise-233x300.jpg" alt="Poppy Turkenlouise" title="Poppy Turkenlouise" width="233" height="300" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-4815" \/><\/a>Use Plants as Natural Shade. If you are planting a vegetable garden, next year try inter-planting varieties such as <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds\/spinach-seeds">spinach<\/a> or <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds\/lettuce-seeds">lettuce<\/a> underneath natural climbers, like <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/vegetables-seeds\/cucumber-seeds">cucumbers<\/a>. This will help to give the smaller plants natural shade in the summer months.\r\n\r\nPlant Drought-Tolerant Perennials. Add <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/perennials">perennial<\/a> plants such as <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/perennials\/hosta">Hostas<\/a>, <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/perennials\/daylily">Daylilies<\/a>, and <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/perennials\/poppy">Poppies<\/a> to your garden in areas where you may not be able to water as much. Once established, these varieties are very drought-tolerant.\r\n\r\nWildflowers! Once established, <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/wildflower-seeds">wildflowers<\/a> are naturally drought-tolerant and hardy. Try planting varieties such as <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/search?keywords=coneflower">Coneflower<\/a>, <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/search?keywords=black+eyed+susan">Black Eyed Susans<\/a>, our <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/search?keywords=xeriscape">Regional Xeriscape mixtures<\/a> that are comprised of drought-tolerant wildflowers, or our <a href="http:\/\/www.americanmeadows.com\/dry-area-wildflower-seed-mix">Dry Area Mixture<\/a>. Wildflowers are easy to plant, easy to grow, and will provide years of gorgeous, low-maintenance color in your outdoor space.\r\n\r\nWhat have you done in your garden to beat the heat? Please leave your comments below! Happy Gardening!