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How to Keep Your Garden Thriving Through Summer

Khoa Le
Jun 6 7 minutes read

Summer is a time for sunshine, barbecues, and enjoying the outdoors. But for gardeners, it can also be a time of intense heat and wilting plants. Don't let the scorching temperatures deter your green thumb! With a little planning and some smart strategies, you can keep your garden flourishing throughout the summer months.

1. Choose heat-tolerant plants

The first step to a successful summer garden is selecting plants that can withstand the heat. Tomatoes and hot peppers are known for their resilience, thriving in the sun and producing delicious fruits. Madagascar periwinkles are another excellent choice, adding vibrant color to your garden with their cheerful blooms. 

2. Cool Your Garden

You might not be able to do much about the heat, but you can create some cooler spots in your garden. Shading your plants is a great way to keep them cool and reduce the risk of them getting scorched. Try hanging a cloth shade in more exposed areas, or plant a tree to provide shade over your seating area. If you want a more instant solution, install an awning or a veranda, which instantly adds shade and coolness.

A misting system is another great way to cool the air, and you can even use it as a watering system for your garden.

Water features also help to cool your garden down. The evaporation from the water can create a cooling effect, so consider placing a fountain or a pond near your seating area.

3. Add some colour

Summer annuals can add a burst of colour to your garden and replace the spring blooms. Think angelonia, ageratum, pentas, salvia, and zinnia, to name a few. Plant them in the places where your spring plants have faded, and move existing plants around to fill any gaps.

Cutting fresh flowers, such as roses, daisies, and sunflowers, and displaying them around your garden is another way to add some colour and bring the space to life.

4. Don't forget to fertilize

Fertilizer is a great way to keep your garden healthy, but it's important to apply it correctly. Get a soil test done in the autumn to determine the best type and amount for your garden, as different plants have different requirements. Edible crops, for example, benefit from fertilizer being applied in the spring before planting.

Fertilizer provides plants with essential nutrients, which are usually lost after harvesting. You only need to fertilize your soil once its nutrient levels are low, otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good. Overfertilizing can result in abnormal growth patterns and other adverse effects.

If you're growing perennial flowering plants, it's best to fertilize before growth begins in the spring, when the ground is no longer frozen. Ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials should also be fertilized at the start of their growing season.

5. Keep on top of those weeds

Weeds are a gardener's worst enemy, but mulching is a great way to reduce their growth. Spreading a thick layer of mulch (around two to three inches) blankets the ground, keeping the soil cool and moist, and depriving weeds of sunlight. Wood chips, bark nuggets, straw, and pine needles are all good options.

The best way to get rid of weeds is to pull them out when they're small and young. Weeds are easiest to remove when the soil is moist, and doing this stops them from producing seeds. Seeds can quickly germinate in the heat, so removing them prevents a whole new batch from growing.

Water wisely

Watering your plants is crucial during the summer, especially if you're experiencing a dry spell. Most plants need around one inch of water a week, and it's best to apply this in one go to encourage roots to grow deeper.

Watering early in the morning or late in the afternoon is best, as less water is lost through evaporation. Drip irrigation or a soaker hose is a great way to feed moisture directly to the soil without wetting the plant's foliage.

Trim and deadhead

Deadheading is a great way to encourage your plants to bloom again. This process involves removing spent blooms, which prevents the plant from producing seeds and forces it to focus its energy on creating new flowers. You should start this process early on, as soon as you see the first few blooms, and continue it throughout the summer. Make sure you use the right tools to avoid damaging the plant.

Perennials also benefit from being trimmed, so give them a good cut back to encourage more blooms.

Protect from elements

High temperatures can be damaging, so shield your plants from the worst of it. Shade the areas of your garden that are most exposed to the afternoon sun, especially during heatwaves. Bringing potted plants inside or shading them can offer some protection, as too much sun can burn their leaves.

Get ready for autumn

Summer won't last forever, so get your garden ready for the next season while the weather is still warm. Remove any dead limbs, flowers, and stems to encourage a final burst of blooms before the winter sets in. Fall is also a great time to plant certain vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and lettuce, so get your soil ready for a successful harvest in the cooler months.

With these tips and techniques, you can conquer the summer heat and maintain a thriving garden throughout the hottest season of the year. By selecting heat-tolerant plants, providing shade and cooling features, and implementing proper watering and maintenance practices, your garden will remain a lush and inviting space. Remember to adapt these guidelines to suit your specific climate and gardening preferences. Enjoy the beauty and abundance of your summer garden and make the most of your green thumb!

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