Keep Your Cool in the Garden

| 7/8/2015 5:36:00 PM

Tags: Gardening, Summer Heat, Heat Stroke, Heat Exhaustion, Dehydration, Andrew Weidman,

Andrew WeidmanI spent the better part of yesterday morning picking gooseberries. I thought I’d beat the heat of the afternoon. Before long, I knew that was nothing more than wishful thinking. It also gave me a not-so-subtle reminder that heat exhaustion in a serious matter; it also reminded me of the following piece:

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us, and that means lots of garden work to be done. The label "lazy days of summer" may apply for other people, but not for us. We know that the last of the peas need to be picked, the string beans are already coming in, and tomatoes and corn will soon be demanding our attention. Everything seems to be begging for water. And weeds never take a vacation, do they? While a garden can quickly generate hours of work that need to be done right now, we need to remember that this is also the hottest time of the season, and work smart to avoid heat stress.

Don’t let your garden get you ‘hot under the collar.

Don’t let your garden get you ‘hot under the collar.'

Heat stress is a very real concern for anyone working outside in the height of summer. If left untreated, heat stress can rapidly lead to heat stroke – which can easily become fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control, severe heat killed more people in America between 1979 and 2003 than earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and lightning combined. Heat stress can do more than just ruin your time in the garden, it can ruin your whole day – or make it your last.

Know the symptoms of heat stress so you can keep your cool in the garden. They can include excessive sweating or no sweating at all, hot dry skin, chills, throbbing headaches, confusion or dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, or even hallucinations. You can avoid a world of trouble if you catch the warning signs early, and take action.

7/19/2015 5:00:24 PM

Thank you, Chuck!

7/15/2015 9:09:16 PM

Good advice! Love the pic of your garden.

7/14/2015 8:11:32 PM

I'm glad to be of assistance, Freedom. My favorite pickle juice comes from bread-and-butter pickles, by the way. I just may have to try your faux lemonade sometime.

7/14/2015 7:35:54 PM

What a great article! I never knew about drinking pickle juice although I often put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water, then add some sugar and make imitation lemonade. :-) Thanks for the reminder to "garden" during the cool mornings and evenings. I have to hand-pollinate my squashes (no pollinators seem to be around) so mornings have become the best time of my gardening day.

7/13/2015 4:08:43 PM

Good afternoon, Dave. Yes, I remember meltingly hot days spent on the back of a rolling hay wagon, catching bales and stacking them as high as I could manage to pitch them. My friends could not understand how or why I wore jeans all summer. They didn't get the concept of hay cuts or hay splinters, or that it was far better to acclimate to always wearing jeans no matter the temperature, rather than switching from shorts to bale hay and risking sudden heat stroke. Keep cool and hope for Fall!

7/13/2015 9:30:59 AM

Andrew, great tips to avoid heat related issues. The heat has hit Nebraska for sure. We have had a couple days with heat indexes touching 110. When in my youth, it meant it was time to bale hay. Always hay baling seemed to come on the hottest days of the summer. Today, many decades later, I'm not sure how we made it through those times. I am a firm believer when the weather is hot to work a little, rest a lot, and drink more water than you think you should. It works for me. I did get over heated once and really don't know how close I came to having some real issues. So I know it can sneak up real fast. ***** Have a heat safe day.

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