With near-record temperatures already setting in, you may not feel like venturing outside. However, if you’re a gardener, you know there are always things you need to get done.
Here are our five top heat-smart gardening tips:
1. Plan your gardening chores early. It may seem like a no-brainer for your comfort, but it’s easier on your plants, too. Make sure you’re watering well before 10am, as temps are soaring into the 90s by then at this time of year. Wet leaves + burning hot sunshine = steamed spinach for some plants. It’s not just for your comfort–the water will absorb better into cooler soil, too.
2. Mulch, mulch, mulch. You’re tired of hearing us say it, but if you were listening before and got a good 3″ to 4″ blanket of mulch in your beds this spring, you’re reaping the rewards now that the heat has kicked up. Haven’t mulched yet? It’s never too late. Oh, and repeat seasonally, too–that organic matter breaks down and refreshing is best at least two times per year.
3. Choose your plants wisely. If you’re suffering from bare spots in beds or containers, plant carefully. Tuck in heat-tolerant color annuals such as lantana, purslane, ornamental peppers, and angelonia here and there as needed–they can take it. We won’t see the likes of petunias, marigolds and other transitional color until September.
4. Plan for fall. It may be scorching now, but Autumn is right around the corner. August is the time to seed wildflowers (see our step-by-step post here) as well as the time to begin planting bearded irises (step-by-step post here). It’s also an important time for cutting back and feeding roses to ensure a great show when temperatures cool in fall.
5. Don’t neglect your veggies. Did you plant a crop of tomatoes for fall harvest? Keep them fed and watered on schedule for a great crop. Clear out any spring-planted tomatoes that are spent, as well as spent plants of squash, peppers, and any others. If you’re not replanting those spots immediately, apply a soil activator (such as Medina) and topdress with a thick layer of organic compost. When it’s time to tuck in your fall veggies, the soil will be richly re-charged and ready to go. Also, don’t forget that August is the time to start your fall veggie seeds indoors. What could be better than an edible gardening project inside in the a/c?
Who says you can’t garden in the heat–with a bit of planning and preparation, you can keep comfortable and keep your plants comfortable and thriving, too…and you’ll set the stage for a beautiful (and flavorful!) fall.
Need help? Come see an NHG garden advisor, and see our list of classes here.
See you soon!