The Summer heat will be arriving soon… and your garden will soon be in its full splendor. With that comes sweltering heat, drought and for many gardeners, watering sanctions presenting a whole range of gardening challenges. Scorching, high temperatures cause many plants to cease flowering or producing fruit, wilt and require incessant attention, not to mention making the task of tending your garden hard to bear. Equip yourself with a few smart strategies and keep your garden looking vibrant and yourself as 'cool as cucumber' through it all.
Instead of providing frequent, shallow watering, water less often but more deeply. This will teach the roots to search for water on their own and grow deeper into the soil, allowing the roots to tolerate drought and be less susceptible to disease and insect problems. Watering early in the morning before the heat of the day will result in your plants gaining the most of your watering practice.
Spread a 2-5" layer of organic matter such as bark, straw, shredded leaves, compost or cut grass over the soil to keep moisture from evaporating. Mulch naturally suppresses weeds which compete for moisture and nutrients against your plants and help keep roots cool and moist.
Just like humans; certain plants thrive in the heat while others suffer through it. Try growing dry-meadow natives and plants that survive well in the wild with little human intervention. Once established, they provide abundant beauty with very little effort.
Over exposure to heat and sun can make an otherwise pleasurable activity miserable or even unsafe. Keeping cool and allowing the summer pastime of gardening to be an enjoyable experience requires taking some steps to beat the heat.
Staying cool in the sun requires taking in plenty of fluids, especially if you are laboring in the garden during the heat of the day. Perspiring is a natural mechanism that helps cool our bodies and staying hydrated is what allows us to be able to perspire. If you ever stop sweating in the heat, you are at risk of heat sickness and need to cool off and hydrate yourself immediately.
Applying a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher or keeping your skin fully covered with breathable clothing not only protects your skin from burning and serious carcinogens but taking these precautions can help prevent other heat related issues. A good hat while gardening provides “portable shade" and helps keep you from overheating. Suitable gardening hats are equipped with wide rims to protect your face and neck and vents on top.
Some forethought into your schedule can make a big difference. Try gardening during the coolest parts of the day or moving to the shaded areas of the garden as the sun moves throughout the day. And remember, its okay to take breaks and cool off!