Gardening presents some unique challenges. Hot, often humid weather can stress plants and the gardener. Fortunately, there are some techniques you can try to help your plants survive and make the work a little easier. Try these six gardening tips during the summer heat, and you could end up with your best garden yet.
1. Mad About Mulch
A generous layer of mulch can make your plants thrive instead of barely surviving, even in challenging weather. Mulch helps keep soil temperatures consistently cooler, making it easier for plants to stay healthy. They’ll also need less watering since mulch helps soil retain moisture. Moreover, your back will thank you for applying mulch, as you’ll likely have to pull fewer weeds.
2. Wet and Wild
Consistency is everything when it comes to watering. Your plants will thank you if you stick to a consistent watering schedule, except when raining. In addition, you should know the soundest time to water your plants. Watering in the early morning is best. This technique will help you waste less water, prevent scalding the leaves, or promote disease growth.
3. Friends and Enemies
Some plants grow well together, while others should be planted far apart. For example, tomatoes are happy to have plants like basil and alyssum growing nearby but suffer when planted too close to potatoes. Peppers and onions are good friends, but peppers and beans don’t work well together. Rather than planning separate areas, you might have more success planting garden friends together. With this technique, you’ll reduce pests and boost beneficial insects.
4. Try Some Trellises
Too much rain can happen to even the most careful gardener. When the ground is constantly damp, some plants can develop diseases. You can reduce the risk of disease by using trellises and adding some strategic shade. For example, try trellising squashes or melons using clips or ties. As the plants grow, they create a naturally shaded area, and you can place shade-loving plants nearby for some sun relief.
5. Start Your Seedlings Indoors
In the most intense heat of summer, only the healthiest plants survive. Give your plants a head start on their root systems by starting seeds indoors while it’s still too cool to put them in the ground. By the time the temperatures are consistently warm enough, you can transplant. Using this method, they’ll have well-established root systems by the dog days of summer.
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6. Stay in Season
Some crops do better in the heat and full sun than others. For example, summer squash loves the warmth and full sun, but you might have some very bitter leaves if you try to plant lettuce. Lettuce and many other plants like spinach prefer cooler temperatures, so you’ll want to hold off starting them. Seed packets will indicate which season is best for that plant.
Set yourself up for success and avoid garden burnout by gardening smart. Gardening is work, but you can work smarter with a bit of planning and timing. Find joy in gardening and reap what you so carefully sowed.
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