Proper garden maintenance is crucial to ensure your plants survive, especially during the hottest months of the year. This summer, follow a few simple tips to keep your plants and veggies in top condition.
One of the biggest challenges we will face during the hot summer periods is keeping our garden healthy, happy and adequately watered. Summer is a season where you should keep an eye on your garden maintenance routine to ensure your plants will survive and thrive through the driest and hottest months. Belinda Thackeray, Horticulturist at Eden Gardens shares her simple tips to ensure plants continue producing as the temperatures rise.
All plants need to be watered regularly until established, and gardens and pots watered more often over summer. Plants take up water via their roots so it’s usually best to apply water directly to the soil not the foliage. Use water crystals and soil wetters to assist with soil water penetration and retention. As the heat rises, the best time to water your plants is in the morning. This reduces the chance of fungal diseases and lowers the risk of water evaporation. Good deep watering will encourage deep roots that will help plants find their own water through heat.
Healthy soil is the key to strong healthy plants that are more able to resist disease and survive attack from many pests. Improve structure and water holding capacity of garden soil by periodically adding organic matter like compost, manure and soil conditioner. This is also a great way of fertilising during summer when essential nutrients are needed by plants. For best results in pots use a premium potting mix containing water crystals, soil wetter and control release fertiliser.
Warm summer winds can quickly dry out gardens and pots. Applying a 5-10cm layer of mulch like bark, Lucerne or pebbles over the soil surface can look great and help to conserve soil moisture which means you have to water less often. It also keeps soil and plant roots cool and can help to suppress the growth of pesky weeds. Spread evenly over the soil surface and take care to keep plant stems clear to help avoid fungal diseases.
Fiery summer weather is ideal for planting veggies like peas, beans, beetroot, eggplants, radishes, zucchinis, carrots and lettuce; herbs like basil, parsley and dill; and flowering annuals like petunias, zinnias, marigolds, poppies and begonias. For perennial gardens try and opt for some of the great range of tough drought tolerant plant from agapanthus, hebes and rosemary to flaxes and succulents. If possible plant and transplant perennials in the cooler spring and autumn periods.