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 Tips for summer gardening


Summer rolls in with an abundance of sunlight that gardeners love to harvest in. A common misconception is that all plants love exposure to sunlight. There are many Mediterranean plants such as marigold, geranium, lantana that would love to bask in the summer heat while the snowdrops, the winter aconites, and the bellflowers would prefer to lounge in the shade. The following tips will help your garden to flourish in the warm, sizzling summer while saving it from the scorching heat.


    Watering plants early morning

 Roots are the main portal through which the plants absorb water. During summer, the soil will mostly be brittle and dry due to the oppressive heat. This lack of moisture will negatively impact the roots and will halt the healthy growth of a plant. Watering them early in the morning helps the plants to derive the required amount of water before the soil-moisture dries up.

Watering in the afternoon, when the sun is high up will not adversely affect the plants, as long as the temperature of the water is too high. Better yet, hot water treatments accompanied by mild temperatures will act as a natural defense mechanism against weeds and pests.

Also, a more precautionary move will be to follow this morning watering rounds with another take, preferably in the evening or late afternoon. This will solidify the plant’s vigor and resistance to heat exposure.


Harvesting the sunlight

 Summer is the best time of the year when the plants get treated to maximum sunlight exposure. Therefore it is very important to bring out the heat-tolerant plants and allow them to fulfill their sunlight requirements.



 Mulch refers to an organic/artificial spread, which is draped across the soil to retain the moisture during the summer heat. This is a definite lifesaver as it eliminates additional watering rounds and also adds a certain allure to the garden overall. Deciding on an artificial mulch such as black plastic sheeting or an organic approach such as grass clipping, newspapers, straws, etc. definitely lies with the gardener. But they can experience additional benefits such as improved soil composition and increased drainage capacity, through the organic approach.

This may initially sound like an unnecessary, additional expenditure, but a competent gardener will be able to retrieve this without a single penny. (for example, discarded newspapers in the neighborhood, straw from farm waste, etc.)


Shades and covers

    Building a greenhouse would be the ideal solution to beat the heat, but the same goal can be achieved in a more frugal manner. Instead of covering the entire garden, you can select the plants which are adversely impacted by sunlight.  Gather several strong pieces of firewood/bark and dig them in the soil around these plants. Using nylon/ durable wire cord, arrange a crisscross network on top of the plants. Ensure that there is a sizeable gap between this and the plant, to prevent any plant from being smothered by trapped heat. You can now drape a mesh/black polythene sheet on this lattice. Additionally, you can make tiny pores on this sheet to ensure ventilation and adequate summer rain.

 But if you grow the plants in pots, the most convenient method will be to expose the plants to a few hours of morning sunlight and then to store them in a shady corner/ on the porch.


Planting seeds

Summer is not the ideal time to plant seeds as there is a higher tendency for the seed to dry out, than for it to generate a sapling. But if you had been remiss before and desire to plant them now, dig a hole deeper than you would usually do. This will protect the seed facing imminent dry up. Or, instead of direct planting, you can use in-house planting methods too:

·         Cover the seeds in wet cotton and place them in a moist place.

·         Soak the seeds in water and place them in a plastic bottle. Perforate the lid with several holes.


Selecting summer appropriate plants.

   Determining the accurate amount of sunlight exposure for each plant, is a controversial situation for many gardeners. These are several heat-tolerant angiosperms that would be ideal for a summer garden:

·         Pentas/ Egyptian starflower

·         Ageratum/ Floss flower

·         Begonia

·         Gaillardia/ Blanket flower

·         Geranium

·         Grapes

·         Figs

·         Natal plum

·         Prickly pear cactus

    If you are unable to accommodate shades/ covers, it would be best practice to avoid shady plants such as Astilbe, Hosta, Caladium, Cherry, Raspberry etc.

Just as the plants, the human body is not immune to constant heat exposures. To accomplish a healthy garden, the gardener should also be of perfect health. Therefore, take extra precautions when staying outdoors and restrain the gardening efforts to early mornings and late evenings.


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