How does your garden grow? Edmonton experts say growing conditions are perfect

While it was a dry start to the growing season in Edmonton and across much of Alberta, recent rain mixed with a lot of sun has many gardeners celebrating.

“We’re eating a lot of stuff already. I still can’t get over my corn with three cobs on them. I’ve never seen it, never heard of it. Corn is always two cobs per stalk. Same seed I’ve always used – peaches and cream,” avid gardener Shawn Martin said from his backyard Monday afternoon.

“Never ever seen it and I come from corn country.”

Standing in the sun, surrounded by luscious green plants, Martin said the growing conditions have been perfect this year, particularly for his corn, tomatoes and potatoes.

“There’s so many tomatoes on here you can’t even see them unless you bend down and look up,” he said. “We’re eating potatoes already. Peas were up very early, we’ve been eating them… the beans, everything’s growing.”

Edmonton gardener Shawn Martin stands in his backyard with his corn Monday, July 4, 2016.

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The manager of the Classic Landscapes Centre in south Edmonton said any time you get a daily cycle of sunshine, warm temperatures and moisture, everything in the garden is going to benefit.

“The sunshine and moisture is great for everything, but especially vegetables in our gardens will see that,” Perry Stothart said. “Sometimes we have to do the work by watering our gardens, but in this case we’re getting lots of natural moisture. Rain is even better in terms of feeding our plants because there is some nitrogen in rainwater as well, so it adds a little extra nutrition to the plants.”

Watch below: Gardening season is here: tips for planting in Edmonton

It’s not just vegetables that will benefit. Stothart said flowers – perennials and annuals – will also flourish in the current weather conditions.

“You’re seeing healthier trees, you’re seeing it in the turf,” he added.

“Even a month and a half ago, our turf wasn’t looking like it is now. When you add some rain with the sunshine, it really changes things around a lot.”

Stothart said it’s not too late to plant a garden. There’s still time to grow established vegetables and harvest them before the end of the season.

Watch below: Gardening in Edmonton: Hanging baskets 101

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Heat stroke, heat exhaustion and sun poisoning: What you should know

As the mercury rises this summer, you may find yourself feeling the effects of too much sun. And we’re not just talking about a sunburn.

In the most severe cases, overexposure to the season’s scorching temperatures can be fatal.

Here are the signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and sun poisoning.

Heat stroke

This is the big one. It can cause brain damage, organ failure, and death. So immediate medical attention is required.

There are two types, as described by Health Canada:

    classic heat stroke, which typically affects sedentary and vulnerable populations (babies, pregnant women, the elderly and people who are on certain medications); andexertional heat stroke, normally associated with high physical activity.

What to watch out for:

High body temperature (usually over 40°C)Lack of sweating; though those with exertional heat stroke may experience profuse sweating, according to Health CanadaRed, hot, and dry skinNausea and vomitingRapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weakRapid, shallow breathingBehavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggeringSeizuresDizziness and light-headednessThrobbing headacheMuscle weakness or crampsHallucinationsUnconsciousness

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    READ MORE: Heat Stroke: What you need to know

    Health Canada recommends cooling those with classic heat stroke gradually. People with exertional heat stroke should be cooled quickly.

    Heat exhaustion

    Heat exhaustion can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures. Those most prone to it are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment.

    The skin might feel cool and moist. The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow.

    What else to watch out for:

    Heavy sweatingPalenessMuscle crampsTirednessWeaknessDizzinessHeadacheNausea or vomitingFainting

    A cool bath or shower may help stop heat exhaustion from progressing to heat stroke.

    WATCH: Knowing the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke could save your life

    Sun poisoning

    A severe sunburn may lead to “sun poisoning.” It’s not a medical term but fever, chills, nausea and dehydration are how people often describe it.

    “Anybody can get sun poisoning,” says Jennifer Beecker, the national chair of the Canadian Dermatology Association‘s Sun Awareness Program.

    Some people link it to a sun rash that Beecker prefers to call a sun allergy (known as a photoallergy or polymorphous light eruption).

    She says it affects 10 to 20 per cent of the population and that it’s more common among those in their 20s or 30s.

    “They often get itchy bumps or blisters minutes to hours later after sun exposure on uncovered skin. It tends to be worse in the spring or early summer and diminishes over the season.”

    “The rash typically last several days to weeks, but typically they do not feel unwell [like] in ‘sun poisoning.’”

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Summer sun brings risk of heat stroke, exhaustion



Prevention is key

Staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do in hot temperatures.

Dehydration can be caused by caffeine, alcohol, certain medications (like antidepressants and antihistamines), and of course — not drinking enough water.

WATCH: A Harvard study found over half of kids between ages six and 19 don’t drink enough water.

Try to avoid strenuous activities when it’s really hot outside.

Stick to the shade, where it can be five to 10 degrees cooler. And if you’re going somewhere you know won’t have shade, Beecker suggests bringing your own.

Wearing a hat and covering up with lightweight breathable clothing is also a good idea, she adds.

READ MORE: Tips on how to sleep in hot weather and 3 things to avoid

Last but not least, make sure to wear a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen.

“All those things help,” Beeker says.

WATCH: Common summertime sunscreen misconceptions