Gardening Safely During a Heat Advisory: People and Plant Care Tips

Gardening Safely During a Heat Advisory: People and Plant Tips

By Christina Zawerucha, Community Gardens Program Manager

There is a heat advisory for Broome County this week.  Please garden safely!!!


  • Schedule any outdoor activities to the early morning (Before 10 AM) or evening (After 8 pm). 
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Stay out of the sun
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 
  • Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. 
  • To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. 
  • Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. 
  • Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9 1 1.


Keep your plants well-watered in the summer! Check out this 2 minute video:

It’s very important to keep your plants well-watered, especially during these hot summer days.

Here are a few watering tips:

  • Water 2-3 times per week for established plants, 1-2 times daily for newly established seeds & plants
  • Water in the early morning or evening when it’s not too hot.
  • Vegetables and flowers need a minimum of 1-2 inches of water per week.  How long that takes depends on your water pressure and nozzle setting.  Set a liquid measuring cup beside your plant while you water with your hose or sprinkler.  Set a timer and see how long it takes to fill the measuring cup up to 1 inch.
  • Water the base of the plant, not the leaves.  The leaves don’t absorb water, and you risk “steam-cooking” the leaves of your plant in the sun.
  • Watering deeply 2-3x/week is better than watering shallowly and frequently.  Frequent, deep waterings encourages your plants to develop deep roots, which will make them more healthy and resilient overall.
  • Mulching around the base of the plant reduces the need to water.  Woodchips, straw, or cardboard around the base of your plant will keep water from evaporating too quickly.  Plus, it smothers weeds that compete for water and deters soil-borne diseases that can be spread by water splashing up from the ground.  Just make sure that the mulch is at least an inch from the plant stem.
  • Hand watering and soaker hoses are better than sprinklers, which lose water to evaporation and coat the leaves of your plants.  
  • Observe the weather and your plants— when it’s hot and dry, your plants will need more water.  If it’s cool and rainy, take a break and let nature do the watering.

Happy Gardening!