Knowing how to get your garden, or even potted garden, prepared before the hot weather strikes can be the fighting difference for your plants to have a better defence. So, how do you get prepared for those hot summer days?
Having a thick layer, 1-3 inches, of mulch on the garden will help to prevent the soil from drying out. Mulch acts as a barrier from the hot sun rays and encourages the soil to retain as much moisture as possible during hotter temperatures. If you have a lot of potted plants, you can add a few handfuls of mulch to the top of the pots and the mulch will act the same as if it were in the garden.
Types of mulch: Sugar cane, pea straw, loose bark and stones. I prefer to use sugar cane in my garden because as it breaks down it will condition the soil. I tend to avoid stones as they can reflect a lot of heat onto the plants and can cause potential problems.
On those hot days you can place bed sheets, blankets, shade cloth or even umbrellas over sensitive plants which might have higher chances of burning. I like to use old bed sheets and throw them over plants which are still establishing or newly planted. Some of the Hydrangeas in the garden are exposed to the afternoon sun so to protect them I throw sheets over them until late afternoon. Tip: Make sure to water plants prior to placing protection over them, this way they are well watered and stay hydrated.
Water, Water and Water!
Watering early in the morning is going to provide your plants with the best start against the heat. But watering correctly is also vital for the survival of your garden. Giving your garden a deep soak will be much more beneficial and could reduce the amount of watering required for the rest of the day. You can use a soaker hose, irrigation system or a watering can. Soaking each plant/garden bed for 5-10 minutes will provide water where it is most needed, at the roots. Reason being, the water that is provide in the morning will reach the roots quicker and will help plants fight the heat throughout the whole day. Whereas if you were to water in the middle of the day, the water will most likely evaporate before it reaches the roots. Why? Because usually temperatures reach their peak at midday or early afternoon.
As gardeners we care a lot about our plants and their survival, but at the same time make sure to keep a lookout for yourself! Keep drinking water if your out in the heat and remember to go sit down in a cool area/room every few minutes.
Until next time happy gardening! By Bonnie-Marie Hibbs ©BMHPhotographyTheGardener’sNotebook2017