Unlike most years, the weather predictions for summer 2018 were certainly spot on. The summer of heat is most definitely in full force and despite it being ideal conditions for enjoying the outdoors, the temperatures can be harmful to the gardens we have nurtured through spring. This guide provides some simple strategies on how to help your garden thrive in the warm weather.
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Water your garden in the evening to allow water to soak through dry soil, and reduce the chance of evaporation during cooler hours at night. Watering in the mid-day sun will mean water is likely to evaporate before it reaches the roots, ensure plants are watered thoroughly to make soil more tolerant to drought conditions. A built in irrigation system would relieve the pressure on yourself and ensure controlled watering. Also adding a soluble fertiliser containing seaweed will encourage a brighter, healthy looking garden.
With a hose pipe ban imminent, get creative with recycling water and keep wastage to a minimum. Investing in a water butt lowers the strain on main water supplies and are easily fitted onto the house or garden building drainage system. Bath or washing up water is another innovative way to reduce wastage and is recommended only on lawns and inedible crops. If you are off on holiday this summer, a handy tip is putting overturned plastic bottles into the ground which will slowly release water – Remember to recycle them once you’re home!
By placing your pot plants in saucers filled with water, roots will have a continuous supply of moisture to reduce the risk of drying out. Another tip is putting sand in the saucer to retain moisture for longer.
Those who own a greenhouse will know they can become saunas in the summer. Not only undesirable for the gardener, direct heat on your sun loving crops may take its toll. Shade the building from the outside to prevent sunlight entering and to control internal temperature; mesh and netting is perfect for a limited budget or fitted blinds are a long lasting but pricier alternative. However be wary that shading may affect the greenhouses ventilation system and avoid restricting sun light entirely. Ventilation is important in maintaining air flow and generate a cooling effect. Open the roof vents or if your greenhouse does not have built in ventilation then keep the doors open on warmer days.
Garden sheds should be treated with a wood preservative annually and the current dry conditions are a perfect time to do so. Treating the building will prevent the wood panels from blanching and bowing in the intense heat. Treatment can come as a stain, oil or paint and all will provide optimum protection!
Fruit and vegetables will continue to uptake moisture even after they are ripe. Pick ripened crops daily or multiple times a day if possible, so that maturing fruit can obtain optimal water. Be warned summer fruits might ripen earlier in the season than expected.
Move your plant pots into the shade as much as possible, in particular protected from the afternoon sun.
Hosing down your shed may help reduce risk of the wood drying out, warping and cracking. Previously warped panels can be rectified by adding moisture and securing with heavy metal clamps to repair the panel.
Organic mulch will form a barrier that retains moisture in soil and suppress weeds. This strategy is most effective with wood chippings, bark, saw dust and manure. It is recommended you check advice for the particular plant when choosing which type of mulch to use.
Do not cut the lawn as short as usual and let chippings fall back onto grass to retain moisture in the soil and develop root system. As well as moisture, try and nourish the lawn regularly with soluble lawn feeds. Try some of these tips and you are all set to become the next Alan Titchmarsh. Enjoy the rare warm weather and spending time outdoors this summer.
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