Charlie’s Summer Gardening Tips

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Charlie Image2I love gardening in the summer months, I’m up early when its cool and can stay in the garden late with the sun still high in the sky. I’m not out there all day though as I normally lounge around in the house or under the shaded pergola to beat the energy sapping heat of the day.

Such heat takes its toll on the plants as well and helping them through the hot months starts as early as possible, which begins with improving the soil. I like to add compost and other forms of organic matter such as Richgro Mushroom Compost to the soil, as this really aids in holding onto water and nutrients for longer. You can also fertilise with a well balanced fertiliser as the macro nutrients such as magnesium help aid in heat stress in the plants cells.  I recommended Richgro Black Marvel for my Flowers and Fruits, but it can be used in the whole garden.

Reducing water loss is the key to keeping your plants through the hot months and the best way to retain moisture in the soil, is by applying a layer of mulch. Research shows a depth of 75mm is ideal for suppressing weeds and locking moisture in the soil. This depth also allows rain water in slowly, so it’s taken up more effectively. An organic mulch such as Richgro Pinebark or Hardwood Mulch is great, as it does all of the above but also breaks down to slowly feed the soil and add organic matter.

Before I mulch, I use Ezi-Wet Soil wetter as this helps water penetrate in the soil so it’s more effective. It doesn’t run off and gets the water and future waterings right down to the roots of the plants. It also helps to rectify hydrophobic soils, that repel water, so its good practice for all gardens no matter what the soil type.

When watering, I always water early morning or late evening, as less water is lost to evaporation. There is also no chance of burning the plants leaves as the water magnifies the sun rays often burning the plant. If you are suffering mildew or fungal problems, I suggest only watering in the morning as wet leaves overnight can escalate these issues.

When watering your lawn, I prefer longer watering sessions less often, as this teaches your plants roots to grow deeper into the soil, which in turn makes them more drought tolerant. Don’t forget Ezi-Wet on your lawns as well.

I like to leave the lawn a bit longer during summer, the longer leaf may transpire a bit more water and thus look less plump during the hot months, however, you’ll protect the roots from burning which will in the long run make your grass healthier.

I try not to plant in the summer months as plants tend to go backwards in the heat, even with the smallest amount of transplant shock. However, if you are adding to a bed or planting a new one altogether, make sure you fill a big bucket of water and dunk the root ball of the plant in the water until it stops bubbling.This ensures the root ball is completely soaked and then you can plant it out with confidence. Don’t forget to water it in well, to remove all the air pockets left in the soil that dry out and effect the roots.

Finally, you’ll need to look after your potted plants in summer as well. For tender delicate plants, I move them in to the shade in the afternoon making sure they still get a bit of morning sun and if I’m heading away, I place them in a deep saucer of water so they have a reservoir of water to rely on.

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