Is it hot enough yet, fellow West Coast Gardeners? As much as we may complain about the heat wave, we also try to grab as much sun as we can before fall hits with it’s rainy season and dark clouds. We know that with enough cold lattes, sun screen and air conditioned malls we can survive the summer heat wave.
Unfortunately our plants may not be quite so lucky if we’re not careful. Bringing your garden into the pool to cool off just isn’t an option! With that in mind I thought I’d give you four quick tips to keeping those plants hydrated this summer so they survive into the autumn.
There’s no vacation from hydration
Although we may be able to skip off somewhere cooler for a few weeks this summer, our gardens are pretty much stuck right where they are. Much like two year olds and puppies, they are totally reliant on you for their hydration. My advice? Water, water, water! (And if in doubt...more water!)
We need a good breakfast in the morning to get us going, and our gardens need a real good watering in the mornings to get them through a hot day. The best time to water your garden is between 5am and 9am. If the temperatures are consistently over 25 degrees celsius all day, then you’d better give them another watering in the evening between 3pm and 5pm.
Don’t water too late, as they don’t like to go to sleep soaking wet, and avoid evening soakings. Of course, with water restrictions in place, consult your local city website to find the most suitable times to water using sprinklers. (Find out more info and tricks on hydrating this summer in our blog post here.)
It’s never unwise to fertilize!
You know the really big and strong guys at the beach, with their six-pack and toned arms? The heat seems to roll off of them as they play beach volleyball, lie in the sand and swim to that tiny buoy in the distance. Why aren’t they melting? Just like a healthy body can help you defend against the sun and heat, plants need to be kept healthy in order to survive the summer.
Watering with fertilizer during the summer is incredibly important and will give your garden the strength it needs to keep growing, produce more blooms and look even better! (Almost like giving your Dahlias a six-pack!) The extra strength will also help them to manage stress from the heat as well as pest invasions.
Let blooms retire when they expire
Like yogurt in the back of the fridge, the blooms on your plants will expire. When they do, it’s time to pluck them off so that they don’t drain superfluous energy from your plants. Once your plant is unburdened with old blooms, it’s free to be more proliferous with bright shiny new ones. Otherwise your plant thinks it’s time to produce seeds and will stop creating as many new blooms for you. Watch out especially for Verbena and Geraniums!
Any excuse to keep it loose
Wearing baggy clothes can help in the sweltering heat, and baggy harem pants have even made a comeback! Your garden could probably do with some loosening up as well. Any garden beds, raised or not, need loose top soil in order to absorb the water better. Super dry chunks of soil will not absorb the water well and plant roots will stay parched when they really need hydration. It’s a great idea to take a cultivator and break up the 2-3 inches of soil on top, so that water can really penetrate down to the plant’s roots. It also has the added benefit of giving them a breath of fresh air.
Jason gives us all his tips and ideas for caring for your hanging baskets all summer long in this quick video!
Alright, West Coast Gardeners! These four tips will get you well on your way to a healthy and happy garden that will last all summer and into the fall. Whenever you grab a drink of icy cold water you can rest easy knowing that your plants aren’t going thirsty. Enjoy the sun try to keep cool!