Gardening During a Hot Summer

Gardening During a Hot Summer

By Michael Jenkins

Although many of us are just getting our gardens started for the spring, summer is coming up faster than we may realize. With summer this year may come record heat, and that can prove to be a challenge for our plants, our gardens, and ourselves. At Gardzen we believe in planning ahead, and with that in mind we’re sharing this blog about gardening in the summer heat. Gardening during a hot summer can present several challenges to both plants and people, but with a little foresight and some planning we can mitigate the effects of summer’s sun and help our gardens thrive as best they can. Let’s dig in and learn a bit more about gardening during a hot summer!

Properly prepared soil goes a long way towards helping plants cope with hot weather. What your soil needs will depend on the plants in question and your overall plan for your garden, but in general a rich, gently loosened soil will conserve water during a heat wave better than compacted soil or malnourished soil. Take the time now to get your soil ready, use appropriate amendments, and monitor soil conditions as the season progresses for best results.

Dealing with weeds is another way of mitigating the effects of the heat. Weeding is an issue for any garden, but especially so in hot weather when weeds steal water away from the plants we’re trying to support. There are no bad plants, but there are plants who grow where we don’t want them to. By dealing with the weeds and taking steps to prevent them from taking hold, we can deal with another detrimental factor for our plants during a hot summer.

Mulch, mulch, and more mulch are the answers to so many gardening questions, but a good mulching routine helps so much during hot weather and extended heat waves. With good mulch in place, you’ll protect your soil from the scorching sun, preserving both moisture and nutrients while protecting the roots of your plants from the heat. This supports both plant and soil health in any weather, but especially so in high temperatures.

Now it’s time to talk about watering plants effectively to help them weather the heat. Good and effective watering at the right time of the day is vital at any time of the year, and especially in so in summer. We’ve written about good watering practices in the past and we encourage you to revisit that blog, but we’d also like to remind you that over-watering is bad for plants too. This may seem counterintuitive—surely more water is better, right? That’s not the case, however. By flooding the roots we can cause additional stress to the plant at a already stressful time. This can make the heat issues worse and result in damage to your garden. Regular and effective watering that keeps the soil moist but not flooded is best for most plants—and yes, it’s OK to water throughout the day. The idea that watering during the heat of the day damages the roots is a gardening myth.

Giving plants some shade can go a long way towards helping them stay health when it’s hot. This can be a simple as moving container plants to a spot that’s out of the noonday sun, or it can involve row covers and sun shades used to block the sun over garden beds and shrubbery. Whatever method you use for your plants, make sure they still get enough sun to thrive while shielding them from the heat.

Finally, please make sure to take care of yourself while working in the heat. Hot weather can do bad things to the human body too, and making sure that you’re safe while tending to your garden needs to be a priority. Stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, protect yourself from the sun, and avoid working during the hottest part of the day in order to help keep yourself healthy while you take care of your plants.

We hope this brief guide helps you prepare for a potentially hot summer ahead. If you have any tips or tricks for dealing with hot weather, or if you have any specific questions, get in touch and let us know. Gardzen is all about community and we love to hear from you!

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