The Dangers of Overwatering the Garden, Even During a Heatwave

Dang, it’s hot. I am all for the heat of summer, but holy smokes, every woman has her limit. At eight months pregnant and with temperatures hitting 35°C (95°F) with humidity, I’ve hit mine. And while I could float in water all day at this point, it’s important to remember that our gardens really shouldn’t and that too much moisture is a bad thing, even in a heatwave!

Holy Hell

In the last week of June, temperatures soared across North America. In Western Canada, daytime highs hit 48°C (118°F), dangerous and unheard of in British Columbia. Heat warnings were issued for Quebec and Ontario, and the US northwest also struggled through record-breaking heat.

garden heatwaves

While indeed too hot for some garden crops, plants like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants love it. I have never had so many tomatoes on the vines so early in the growing season, especially living in Quebec!

They’re Just Like Us!

Just like us, plants get thirsty, especially during a heatwave. But overwatering can pose some serious problems in the garden, and I’m guilty of being a little too generous recently with the watering can in my greenhouse.

garden heatwaves

The greenhouse gets hot. Real hot. And the plants growing in there are all in containers, which leach moisture a lot quicker than raised beds or in-ground gardens do.

Wilting and Watering

Panic can quickly set in walking through the greenhouse during the high heat. The plants inside look sad with their wilted leaves. I immediately assumed they needed more water, when in fact, they required the opposite.

garden heatwaves

They needed to dry out.

The tell-tale sign? Some blossom-end rot on my pepper plants. Also, a single, unripe pepper had dropped to the ground with mold around its stem. Peppers are temperamental; they hate wet feet.

garden heatwaves

Calcium deficiencies in the soil can often cause blossom-end rot, but moisture fluctuations and overwatering can also be culprits.

Moisture Meter to the Rescue!

I know my soil is in great shape thanks to compost and various amendments that contain calcium. Using a moisture meter helped me get to the ‘bottom’ of my problem.

Despite the fact the leaves looked sad, my plants were actually soaking wet. They had more than enough moisture!

garden heatwaves

Did you know that wilting leaves can be a sign of a plant that’s overwatered? Did you also know that sometimes less is more where peppers are concerned? Some pepper experts say too much water reduces the amount of capsaicin a pepper produces; capsaicin makes peppers nice and spicy.

Using a simple and inexpensive piece of tech in the garden can save you from a costly mistake and help keep your garden plants happy. Beware of overwatering!

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Catherine Sherriffs

Editor at Garden Culture Magazine

Catherine is a Canadian award-winning journalist who worked as a reporter and news anchor in Montreal’s radio and television scene for 10 years. A graduate of Concordia University, she left the hustle and bustle of the business after starting a family. Now, she’s the editor and a writer for Garden Culture Magazine while also enjoying being a mom to her three young kids. Her interests include great food, gardening, fitness, animals, and anything outdoors.