Ah, the days of summer. The sun is out in full force, skies are blue, and vacation mode is turned on! While we might be enjoying soaking up the Vitamin D all summer long, our plants unfortunately do not have SPF protection to shield them from extreme sunlight. This summer do not allow your garden to succumb to the high heat. If you want a thriving garden – read along!
5 Gardening Tips to Help Your Garden Survive this Summer
Cover the Soil with Organic Mulch
When the weather gets warmer, it is time to gather shredded leaves, straw, and grass clippings for an organic mulch to help prevent the soil from drying up. Do keep in mind to be careful and not use too much mulch as this can be detrimental to your plants. A thick layer of mulch can absorb much of the water itself and moisture will therefore not reach the soil. A good two to four inches is more than enough.
Maintain Soil Organic Matter
Experts believe that garden soil should contain at least 4-9% of organic matter, depending on the soil type and climate. Making sure to maintain a satisfactory level of organic matter in your soil makes a huge difference in aiding the soil with water retention. Enrich your soil with mycorrhizal fungi or similar beneficial organisms to help plants better tolerate drought-like conditions and nourish it from within.
Water Your Plants Well
In the full summer sun, container plants will have to be watered at least two times daily. If it is too hard to keep up with this routine, move your plants to a shadier, protected area. For shrubs and trees, you can measure your soil’s moisture level. As you spend extra time with your plants, you will start to get a sense for how often they need to be watered.
Tip: Watering from the air often leads to instant evaporation, so water from the soil line. You can always make use of weeper hoses, since they help water directly seep to the roots. Lay them next to the plants on the ground and set your timer for around 30-45 minutes.
Grow More Heat-Loving Plants
If you want to limit your worrying about your plants in the sweltering heat this summer, save yourself some trouble by choosing plants that are specifically bred for the desert or the tropics! Some of the more resilient members of the plant kingdom are:
- Elephant Bush (Portulacaria Afra)
- Dwarf Jade Bush (Portulacaria Afra)
- Natal Plum (Carissa Macrocarpa)
- Sweetheart Plant (Philodendron Scandens)
- Purple Heart or Purple Queen (Tradescantia Pallida)
Additionally, you can also always opt for hardier vegetable plants like sweet potatoes, cowpeas, okra, peppers, eggplant, southern peas, and tomatoes.
No gardener wants to see insects wreaking havoc on a bed full of ripening produce or blooming flowers. First, we want to recognize that not all insects are pesky! Spiders, praying mantises, bees, and ladybugs are essential to a healthy garden; whereas unwanted pests such as caterpillars, beetles, and aphids will feed on your garden’s growth. One easy and natural way to rid your garden of these pests is to place bird feeders, birdbaths, and bird houses throughout your yard to attract birds to control bug populations.
Keep your garden happy this summer! Even a little bit can go a long way in helping your plants survive.