We’ve talked before on this site about how to protect yourself during the hot weather, but what about
your summer garden? If we’re brutally honest, we all know that hot summers will be more common, not more
minor, and we’re going to have to learn to live with them. Thankfully we can prepare and react to
extremely hot periods to protect our plants and allow them to survive and thrive.
7 Tips to Keeping Your Summer Garden in Shape During a Heatwave
When dealing with high levels of sunshine and heat, we can take the most obvious solution available
to us: to lessen or remove the light. We can easily create shade in areas of the garden. We must
consider how much light, and therefore heat, we will want to get to our plants. We can construct a
structure over our planting beds using timber and mesh to provide the shade. The big decision will be
how thick to make the mesh; an excellent place to start would be to figure out how much more
sunlight we are experiencing than in previous years and adjust accordingly. It’s essential to monitor
the plants appropriately, and if they seem to be showing the first signs of sun damage, we should
perhaps increase the thickness of the shade or the number of hours each day we employ them.
Efficient Use of Water
Water is the other obvious solution to a heatwave and drought. But it is essential to use water in a
measured way. Over-watering can be as lethal for plants as a lack of it. An excellent method to keep
the water level in check is to use drip irrigation for raised beds. We can achieve the same, or better,
results as traditional watering methods while saving water by 30-50%, which can be crucial as often
we are limited in our water use if it becomes scarce.
Harvest Any Fruit & Veg
It’s not always a commonly known fact that it is crucial to harvest any plants requiring it as soon as
possible. If you leave the produce to grow after they should be ideally picked, this can cause issues,
principally that you are unnecessarily using water and nutrient resources. If you leave some plants
longer than necessary, such as peas, it can actually prevent future yields from growing with that plant.
Don’t Dig or Move Plants
Often it might be tempting to move plants that seem to be in some kind of trouble and are not growing
at an ideal rate, or worse. What will happen if you move a plant that is in trouble is that it will be more
vulnerable to begin with, and also even if they do take in their new position, they will use a lot more
water as they root in again.
Mulch is a relatively cheap and extremely effective tool in protecting plants when the harshest of the
summer sun is beating down on them. Mulch will give certain benefits to aid in good plant health.
Firstly, it can help trap moisture near the surface of where the plants are growing. If you keep the
mulch to a light color, perhaps grass clippings, then you will increase the reflectivity of the surface and
help keep the sunlight damage to a minimum.
If we are struggling to help out our traditional garden plants and flowers, trying everything going but
still find we are losing the battle, then why not consider swapping out some of them for plants that
actually thrive in the heat? Often, when we mention plants that can survive in extended periods of
heat and drought, people always think of cacti; but this is rather short-sighted, as we forget that we
can use water and shade amongst other techniques to encourage plants to grow. Consider these
great examples of garden plants that will thrive in a hot environment even when we are surprised by
Good Plant Health
It’s key to keep your plants in good general health as well as specifically reacting to the hot situation.
The stronger your plants are going into the hot season, the better they will fare going through it. Good,
high-quality soil and the use of prime fertilizers and plant food will help. If you have plants that
survived several seasons and years, they will inevitably be stronger than newly planted ones, so be
sure not to renew everything at once.