Summer heat takes its toll on everyone, and our outdoor spaces are no exception. Keeping your plants happy and healthy throughout the hottest season is vital to both their growth and longevity.
The experts at Camp & Camp compiled a Summer Survival Guide with tips to grow a gorgeous summer garden and care for it throughout the season.
1. CHOOSE SUMMER PLANTS WISELY
Choose decent-sized specimens and don’t be tempted to overcrowd the space. Use plants that thrive in summer as this will save you work and help conserve water. Herbs are fabulous plants, with garden and kitchen uses galore, and are particularly useful in a dry season. Rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme, winter savory and chives are good choices in the garden, and they will do well in a sunny spot even in a drought.
2. FERTILIZE WELL BEFORE PLANTING
Helping your plants thrive is often a case of proper planning, placement and soil fertility. A strong plant can better withstand the stress of high heat and dry weather. So fertilize the soil well before planting using organic compost and other sustainable fertilizers.
3. TAKE CARE OF BUDDING PLANTS
A sudden loss of buds and flowers is often a consequence of the plants drying out in the Summer, particularly when they are growing in containers. Mulch and water deeply once or twice weekly during hot, dry weather to limit this common and irritating problem.
4. HELP POTS TO STAY COOL
Potted plants, especially those in terracotta pots, are vulnerable to overheating. Lightly mulch and, where possible, position them out of hot western sunshine. Remember that standing potted plants in saucers of water encourages root rot and mosquito breeding. Instead, stand them in saucers filled with sand, and keep the sand moist. This ensures roots stay cool and plants remain healthy.
5. WATER EARLY & WATER WELL
Whether growing annuals, herbs, newly planted perennials, or trees, they need a good dose of water: at least one inch per week. Water in the morning when it’s cool – not only for plants, but for yourself. If you water in the afternoon, allow enough time for foliage to dry out before sunset.
6. WEED AND HARVEST
You’ve weeded all summer, so don’t stop now. If weeds are left and go to seed, you’ll have ten times more problems next year. The strong root systems of weeds will compete with new transplants for water, nutrients and light. Deadheading should continue, too. Removal of spent flowers at the stem base supports plant energy for development of more fruit, veggies or flowers.
7. PROTECT NEW PLANTINGS & SHADE STRATEGICALLY
Freshly planted vegetable and flower seedlings are likely to need a bit of sun hardening. Shelter them with 50 percent shadecloth, old net curtains, dead palm fronds, or leafy branches for a week or two. This helps them establish without harm. Northern boundaries may benefit from some extra shade. Strategically placing a deciduous tree, vine or some clumping bamboo to shield your house and garden from searing western sunshine is a good option.
8. DOCUMENT AND PLAN FOR SEASON AHEAD
When temperatures outside drive you inside, start prepping for next year’s garden based on this year’s outcomes. Set yourself up for success by documenting where everything was planted and how it did. Think ahead applies to spring-blooming bulbs, too, such as tulips and daffodils that are planted in the fall. Cool season crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach and collards will also planted in September along with another round of lettuce, parsley, cilantro and more.