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Damn its hot!

Damn its hot!

So here are our top 8 tips for keeping your garden looking it's best this Summer.

1. Plants transpire through their leaves, but while the little pores close up as best they can the net loss is greater than their ability to take up moisture from the soil. Firstly ensure that there is sufficient moisture in the soil; plants can only harvest that which is there in the first place. Your best water indicator is right in front of you, that's right, your finger! Have a bit of a dig to check that the soil is neither too wet or too dry for general plants. (More on specialised plants a little bit further down...) 

2. Mulching- The soil moisture should not be so great that it just percolates away (taking valuable mineral salts with it) or so dry that it is dusty. Somewhere in between will work. Ok, that's sorted. Now make sure you have a sufficient layer of mulch on top, something like 75mm or 3" depth. Replenish yearly. Mulch cools the top layer and reduces evaporation. Essential microbes will only populate the soil where conditions are suitable. Too hot and sayonara!

3. Water in the morning or during the day but never at night. Fungal spores love wet leaves and we don't want any of that nastiness. By watering first up we give plants a chance to take up what they need and avoid wet leaves overnight.

4. Frequency is often raised.. this depends on many factors like type of soil (sand or clay), wind, latitude, age of tree, size of leaves and finally, level of luxuriance desired. You might be prepared to water less and have plants with less than optimum appearance.  If watering becomes an issue (maintenance or cost) then consider replacing with plants with fewer moisture demands, even using succulents. Generally speaking, watering every two or three days will be sufficient for to keep most plants looking loved in average soil conditions. Establishing plants is a bit different as they don't have a network of roots yet. Water daily for the first two weeks then every second day for the next week.

5. Choose plants that are suited to your climate and plant them in the right place. Soft stuff in the shade, tough stuff in the sun. We try to grow plants where they shouldn't be and to our surprise they grow. If plants aren't happy, try transplanting to a more suitable location. Succulents may be a good choice but be aware that when the rains do come, it can get too wet!  Sandy soils and succulents work well. Clay soils can hold more water than sandy soils so plants fare better in hot conditions. Loam soils containing organic material are the best all round soils- they hold water, can drain freely and allow gas exchange necessary for plant function.

6Indoor plants- just make sure the moisture level is not overly wet and certainly not dry. Yes, you can spritz the foliage

( we highly recommend the self-watering pots for indoor plants)

7Is gardening easy? Well, it can be if you look for the signs that plants exhibit daily. Watch for wilting leaves or leaves that have lost their sheen. Time to water! Will I burn my plants if I water in the middle of the day? Not a chance! if a plant needs a drink, give it one, unless it's later in the afternoon. Plants will recover from heat stress overnight but don't forget to water first up!

8. Our best tip is to water twice. Start at one end of the garden and work your way to the end. Then come back and repeat. The first watering breaks any surface tension and starts the infiltration process. The second watering freely infiltrates to a greater depth. Avoid light watering. In hot conditions you are looking to provide a sufficient store from which your plants can draw; they will go through their daily cycles of some stress but can draw nightly from that which you have provided.