Summer Gardening Tips
Summer is all about water and we either seem to have to much of it or not enough so the number one piece of advice is to prepare well. We look at some of the best and easiast tip for a colourful and healthy garden in summer months.
In general garden beds need to moist but well drained and a lot can be achieved with mulch. Mulch reduces the heat of the sun on the soil and helps provide a cool root run. It also helps retain moisture and reduces weeds.
The best time to mulch is when the soil is still wet from spring rains, if the soil is dry, water well before mulching. In the summer, check soil moisture and water well if dry. Try loosening the mulch and the soil with a garden fork to improve water penetration.
In areas of summer rain, raised garden beds can be the answer to to much water as this can improve drainage.
When to water
- It is best to water in the morning rather than the evening, watering in the morning allows the plants access to water and at the same time the foliage will dry out quickly, watering at night can encourage fungal growth as the moisture and warmth overnight creates ideal conditions. If you must water in the evening, and many gardeners who work have little option, , then try to avoid watering foliage as much as possible.
Provide some natural shade
- It is also worth looking at the garden at this time to see where a little companion planting would be of benefit, what shrubs or trees can be planted in autumn that will provide shade where it is needed in times to come.
- Container grown plants need a little extra care in warmer months as pots and containers tend to dry out quickly, you can move many to a position where they get dappled shade, others will need a little more water.
- Usually summer is not the time to fertilize plants, the exception is the vegetable garden, the exception is liquid seaweed fertilizer is worth using year round.
New plants and Pruning
- And of course we all want summer flowering plants, however after november its usually a little late to plant them, worht a try with dahlias and a few others if you can find them, but they will need extra care.
Summer is not the best time to be planting new gardens, with the exception of some vegetables. And its not only the water, but also the heat, any plant grown in a container will have a restricted root system and will need a while to get those roots into the garden soil. During this period plants are more sensitive to heat, so if you must plant in summer, consider a little extra shade.
However this a good time to plant spring flowering bulbs, available in new catalogues from January onwards. (you can subscribe to our newsletter so you get in early) You can also try some late plantings of basil and other herbs, if you can keep the water up.
Pruning is usually left to cooler months, if you must, look for a spell of cooler weather. However roses can be deadheaded to encourage a second flush of flowers.
- Summer is also a great time to remove weeds, if you can stop weeds from seeding you are well on the way to eliminating them. A walk around the garden with a ho e is the easy way to knock back weeds, a garden fork will help remove those with deeper roots.
Water Wise Plants
- Drought tolerant plants are often a focus during summer months, succulents are often mentioned, however lots of other plants cope well with dry conditions, including many of our native plants. You can also consider plants such as Clivia and Epimediums that grow well in dry shade.
- Lawns are the big problem in summer, although we see lots of drought tolerant lawns promoted it is difficult to maintain a green lush lawn in the Australian summer. Sub surface irrigation is one alternative to consider.
If you do need to water your lawn, water it well, a deep watering is far better than a light one.