Selecting the proper seasonal plants is a very important factor when planting in your summer garden, but there are a few other crucial steps to protect your plants during potentially damaging heatwaves. There are a few signs of heat stress in your garden that will help you determine if they need preventative care, such as: blossom and leaf loss, dully yellow patches on produce and leaves, and wilting. Follow these preventative care tips to help your garden thrive this summer!
Keep soil evenly moist. Moist soil will protect roots from the heat and provide plants with much needed moisture. The best method is to use irrigation hoses that feed a gentle flow of water directly to the soil surface evenly and continuously. Soil moisture should reach up to 4 inches in depth to provide the best protection for gardens. This is one of the many reasons Garden in Minutes Garden Grid is so effective in a square foot garden; it’s not only simple, it’s defensive!
Mulch. Covering your garden with a thick mulch dually protects from the sun AND helps the soil retain moisture and nutrients. Mulch can also be used during the winter months when you want to protect against frost and the harsh cold. It is considered an insulator, retaining heat when it is cold, and staying cool when it’s hot. Bagged mulch can be found at your nearest garden center, or it can be handmade right at home.
Weed your garden. Removing weeds reduces competition for the limited moisture and nutrients in soil. High temperatures quickly dry out soil, leaving it hard and stale. Soil is the “primordial soup” from which plants grow; without it, there is no life! Let your flowers and vegetables take advantage of all they can get by reducing the competition caused by weeds and unwanted vegetation.
Shade against direct sunlight. Direct sunlight is harmful to your plants and soil. Luckily, there is a simple solution. Shade! Shade covers should be lightweight and light colors that reflect light instead of absorb it. Covers can be cloth, such as old sheets, or mesh like an old window screen. There is also a wide variety of gardening shade at your local garden center. Your protective shade should be 3 to 4 feet away from the plants for optimum airflow. Using flexible PVC, you can create a flexible structure to hold your shade in place that can later be removed when the temperature cools down. It is important to protect plants located on the south and west ends of the garden from direct sunlight occurring near sunset. This can be accomplished with a shade shield. Simply hang a cloth from a line stretched between 2 posts (these can be temporary or permanent. It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just needs to work). A shade shield could be all your garden needs to beat the sun’s concentrated summer heat!
Keep up to date on your local weather. This one is easy. Keep tabs on the weather in your area at least weekly. Knowing when there may be a heat wave will give you time to protect your garden, and may end up saving all your hard work! Staying informed is the best way to protect and nourish a garden, whether you are a green horn or a green thumb.
Every season comes with a challenge, and summer doesn’t hold back. We need to take care of not only ourselves, but of our gardens as well. Don’t let the heat beat down your vision of a productive garden, use these summer growing tips to grow the best summer crop you can. At Garden In Minutes, we want you to get the most out of your gardening experience – bragging rights included when friends and neighbors see your beautiful plants!