Our planet has just passed that magical place in space that marks the beginning of summer. For gardeners in the Southwest, this is the toughest time for us and our plants. We can’t change the inevitable heat waves coming our way but there are a few things we can do to minimize the sun’s effect on our more tender plants. Here are a few that work and one that doesn’t.
Move Your Containers
The soil in containers heats up dramatically during summer weather. Now is the time to take advantage of the mobility of those pots and tubs. The spot that was just right in April may be searing hot in July. Look for a spot where your containers will benefit from some shade. Use a furniture dolly if you have to for the really large ones.
Mulch Exposed Soil
The biggest danger to plants in high heat is dehydration. That’s why we water them. That’s why we also need to help keep the precious water from evaporating too quickly by mulching our garden soil. It’s not too late to get out there and put down a layer of mulch. If you’re on a tight budget, check with local municipalities, which often have free mulch available as part of their recycling program.
Make Plans For Fall
It’s as inevitable as the summer heat. Somewhere in your garden there’s a plant that is just too exposed to the sun. It needs to be transplanted but now is NOT the time to do it. So protect it as best as you can and make a note to yourself to get out there when temperatures drop in September and move the poor thing to a more shaded spot.
What About Protective Sprays?
There are sprays on the market that advertise their ability to protect plants from dehydration. Plant scientists call these anti-transpirants. They sound like a wonderful idea but the reality is they have limited value in the home garden. If you’d like to learn more , click here to read about why they don’t really work as advertised.
P.S. What About You?
I’ve been writing about how to maximize protection of your plants, but what about protecting you? The answer is to wear a hat whenever you go out. Keep one near the kitchen door so you can grab it whenever the mood hits you. The simple protection of a hat will give you more quality time in the garden, no matter what the thermometer says.