The weather is heating up and, if you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to summer-proof your garden. Do it right and you’ll even get more bang for your buck according to expert gardener Charlie Albone.
“Water restrictions, searing sunlight and hotter temperatures can all put your garden – and your wallet – through its paces, but by doing some basic preparation now you can save your garden, maximise your watering schedule and avoid having to replace plants that haven’t made it through the summer,” the Better Homes and Gardens presenter explains.
Timing is everything
Only ever water in the early morning or in the evening once the sun is down. Watering during the day risks magnifying the sun’s rays and burning the plant, you’ll also lose more water through evaporation.
For lawns,you also want to train your lawn’s roots to become more drought-tolerant and the best way to do this is to water them for longer, less frequently which is simple enough to do even when a sprinkler ban is in effect.
You’ll want to get rid of weeds as quickly as possible, especially in the warmer months and peak growing seasons, because they are sapping nutrients and water in your soil – and if the weeds are getting them your plants aren’t! Personally, I prefer to use a natural weed killer, like Richgro’s Beat-a-Weed because I know it’s safe to use on my veggie patch and around kids and pets.
Invest in a good soil soaker
This is one of the most valuable things you can do to get your garden summer-ready. Ever wondered why some people’s lawns fare better during dry hot summers? The secret sauce here is probably that they’ve applied a good soil soaker, like Richgro’s Ezi Wet formulation.
Soil soakers enable water to penetrate more deeply into the soil, rather than pool on top, and reach the roots. I like to use them on lawns as well as garden beds and pot plants. If your garden is looking especially dry you’ll get the quickest results from a liquid formulation. Keep an eye out for the hose-on bottles – thanks to an on-off flow cap you won’t waste a drop, and they are OK to use during water restrictions.
Compost is king
I’m a huge fan of improving soil quality and one of the best ways to do that is using compost or some other organic matter. It’ll help trap nutrients and water in your soil for longer – which your garden will thank you for during those heatwaves. A good quality all-purpose compost will do the job but I personally like to use a mushroom compost if I can find it.
Think about mulch as being your garden’s sunscreen. You’ll want to put it on, and make sure you top it up at least once, but preferably twice, a year for maximum benefits. This extra layer of organic material helps to conserve water, keep ground temperatures cooler and keep weeds at bay. If you can, aim to get your mulch layer around 7.5cm deep.
Give your pots a bit of TLC
Pot plants have a tendency to be some of the earliest casualties of summer. Check that they aren’t in direct sunlight all day, although a bit of morning sun can be a good thing. If you’re heading away or prone to forgetting to give them as much water as they need a good potting mix such as Black Marvel Potting Mix and water storage crystals might just give you enough run-way to make it through a few hot days.
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