Tending to your plants throughout the summer is essential. Once the flood of spring planting is over, you still have to keep up with weeding, deadheading, and harvesting during the hottest months of the year. However, hot temperatures combined with humidity can put you and your plants at risk if you’re not prepared for the heat. To keep yourself safe and your plants happy, you must have a plan to get through the summer! Following these simple steps ensures that your summer garden remains a refuge, not a potential hazard.
Stay hydrated (and keep your plants hydrated too!)
First of all, it’s important to keep yourself hydrated when outdoors in the summer sun. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and take breaks when you feel overheated. Additionally, try to limit the amount of time that you are outside in direct sunlight during peak hours.
Your plants, like you, need to stay hydrated in order to remain healthy and vibrant. Make sure that you water your garden regularly and evenly. Consider using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system to keep water off of the foliage and help avoid fungal diseases. But avoid overwatering! This can lead to root rot, disease, and other plant problems.
If rain is scarce, you may also want to install a rain barrel or other collection device so that you can reuse water during dry spells.
Check out this article for tips to help reduce your water bill during the summer!
Protect your skin and eyes from the sun
You should always wear protective clothing when outside, regardless of the season. But during the summer months, it’s especially important to cover up as much skin as possible and keep a wide-brimmed hat on hand. You should also invest in some good sunglasses which provide UVA and UVB protection, as well as polarized lenses to reduce glare.
Provide your plants with enough shade
To keep your garden healthy during the hot summer months, you also need to make sure that it’s getting adequate shade. Choose a spot in your yard that’s partially shaded for sensitive plants, such as those from tropical climates.
If you don’t have a shaded area in your garden, consider using a sun shade netting or other covering to protect your plants from the intense heat and UV radiation. You can also utilize taller plants, such as trees and bushes to provide shade for the lower-lying plants that might be more sensitive to the heat.
Keep an eye on pests and diseases
It’s important to keep an eye out for pests and diseases which can wreak havoc on your garden during a heatwave. Pests love to take advantage of a warm and humid environment, so be sure to inspect your plants regularly for signs of infestations. Additionally, diseases spread quickly in hot climates so make sure to check for obvious symptoms such as yellow foliage or wilting.
Protect your plants from heat stress
Just like humans, plants can suffer from heat stress! To help your plants stay strong and healthy during the warmer months, consider adding a layer of mulch around each plant. Mulch helps to keep the soil cool, retain moisture, and prevent weeds from growing. Additionally, if your plants are in containers, try using lighter-colored pots as they can help to reflect some of the sun’s rays.
Choose heat-tolerant varieties
When planting for summer, be sure to select flowers or vegetables that can handle the higher temperatures. Specific varieties of flowers, such as marigolds and zinnias, are great choices for hot climates, and vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers can also handle the heat.
Take breaks when working in the garden
Don’t forget to take frequent breaks during the gardening season. Not only are you vulnerable to sunburn and dehydration, but you can also suffer from exhaustion if you stay out in the heat for too long.
Tend your summer garden during the cool parts of the day
Make sure to plan your gardening activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early in the morning or late evening. This will help you avoid getting dehydrated or overheated while tending to your garden.
Don’t neglect weeding
It’s important to stay on top of weeding during a heatwave, but be sure to play it smart. Weeds can quickly take over a garden in these conditions, so you must diligently pull them as soon as possible. Avoid working in the full sun and always have a water bottle on hand. Additionally, save your most difficult weeding tasks for the cooler parts of the day.
Plant on a cloudy day
If possible, plan to plant on a cloudy day, as this will help ensure that your plants have time to get acclimated before facing the full brunt of the sun. It might also mean a rainstorm is on the way, which is even better for young plants.
Planting on a cloudy day also keeps you from overexerting yourself in the hot sun and can help you be more efficient. Instead of going indoors or into the shade to cool off every few minutes, you can keep going to finish your projects.
Prevent standing water
High temperatures and humidity create the perfect environment for mosquitoes and other pests to breed. To keep these pesky insects away, it’s important to make sure that there is no standing water in your garden. Empty out birdbaths, kiddie pools, or any other containers which may be collecting rainwater or sprinkler runoff. Additionally, inspect your yard regularly for any areas which might be prone to flooding.
Be flexible and responsive to changes in weather conditions
Finally, it’s important to be aware of changing weather patterns and adjust your gardening schedule accordingly. If temperatures become unusually hot or a heat wave is imminent, consider bringing some of your container plants indoors or protect them with shade cloths. Additionally, pay attention to the forecasts for heavy rains and be prepared to adjust your watering schedule as needed. Being flexible and responsive in these situations can help you keep your garden looking its best, even during the hottest of months.
The summer months can be extreme, and taking the proper precautions is essential to keeping you and your summer garden safe. By following these simple tips, you can rest assured that both your garden and yourself will make it through the season unscathed!