Think summers and ice-cream and mangoes come to mind almost the same time as sweat and a perennial yearning for an AC. While we find our respite in summer-fresh foods and cooling hacks, our beloved gardens often end up taking the brunt of the harsh sunlight and rising temperatures. Excessive heat can be a source of stress for plants, particularly the home garden varieties, and cause plants to dry up or wither. Here are some simple ways in which you can ensure that the sunny days don’t leave your favourite plants high and dry.
1. Seasonal plants endure the weather better
Watermelons make for great summer plants. Image source: Geekgardener
Plants are essentially seasonal beings. Some plants are best grown in winter, while others thrive in the sunny days. With proper hydration and manure, chillies, cucumbers, brinjals and watermelon are ideal plants for the season and can even be grown in pots.
2. A ‘shade’ in time saves nine
A garden shade. Image source: Flickr
Invest in a shade cloth for your plants, easily available in online stores and horticultural dealerships. The fabric thickness may vary; choose the fabric according to the plants of your garden. Install it over the trees and/or partially on the sides.
3. Water plants at the right hour
The best time to water your plants during summer is early morning or evening. The water is cooler during these hours. The best time to put on your gardening cap? Before 10am or post 4pm.
4. Shower your plants in small doses
Water sprinklers, or buckets and mugs, make for efficient watering tools. Image source: Pixabay
Eschew the water hose for sprinklers or mugs. Summers are accompanied by dry spells — with growing water scarcity, it’s important to use the most economical means of watering plants.
5. Plants can be friends too
Bigger, sturdier plants can often help to provide shade for smaller and more delicate greens. Consider it a buddy system for your garden, and plan the arrangement of trees with this strategy in mind.
6. Keep tab on soil moisture
Image source: Pixabay
There is such a thing as too much water for your plants. Before you turn on the sprinkler, check to see if the soil is moist under the surface. Wait till the soil is somewhat drier, or simply sprinkle water on the leaves and branches.
7. Still waters run deep
Prevent water from stagnating, whether on the soil or pots and trays. Standing water can pave the way for a mosquito infestation in addition to giving your beloved plants an H2O overdose.
8. A splash of colour
Bougainvilleas love summer. Image source: Pixabay
Flowering plants will help add some colour to a summer garden. Zinnia, bougainvillea, marigold and roses are some of the blooms that will keep your terrace garden lively through the heat.
9. Light and shade
While most plants benefit from sunlight, the rising heat in cities can do our terrace gardens more harm than good. If you have potted plants, try moving them to an area with balanced light and shade.
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10. Compost goes a long way
Along with watering the plants, composting helps to keep your plants — especially fruit-bearing and flowering ones — hydrated and healthy. You can easily make compost at home or purchase organic compost from community groups like Bengaluru’s Kora3B Compost.
11. A spot of sun for indoor plants
Though indoor plants do not require a lot of sunlight, placing them next to windows will help them thrive.
12. Mulch for healthy plants
Mulch. Image source: Flickr
The other summer must-have is mulch, used to describe material spread on soil surface to keep it cool, prevent weeds and aid hydration. Mulch includes tree bark, compost, newspaper, bits of grass, shredded leaves and sawdust. Turn the mulch around every few days and remember to replace it when the mulch decomposes.
13. Ignore your lawn
Unfortunately, summer is no time for indulgent gardening. While plants need their hydration, big lawns will drain your home of too much water. Minimise watering and trimming during these months.
14. Snip, snip, snip
Trimming can do wonders for our hair — turns out, it can have a positive impact on plants too. Gently snip away withering or dried branches, twigs and blossoms from your plants once a week.
15. Rooftop gardening can cool you down
If you are a novice gardener, or don’t have a ready garden yet, start with planting on the rooftop. The soil will cool your home naturally, and using plastic sheets as a base will help to prevent seepage.