The Australian summer can be a really tough time for gardens. While green fingered Europeans are welcoming the warm weather because it means that things will be easier for their plants, the Aussies are trying to work out how to stop theirs from wilting away.
It does depend on which region of the country you live, of course. In the southern and central areas, the soil tends to be baked dry and plants pine for water. However, at the Top End, things are still hot, but there are life-giving rainstorms. It just goes to show how wonderfully diverse the country is and how skilled it’s gardeners need to be to rear beautiful plants.
These handy hints and tips will help you get your summer garden figured out in 2017.
Water in the Morning
Once you have the right irrigation supplies in place, you can begin to put together a watering schedule. Always remember that it is better to water early in the morning before temperatures rise. That way, when the sun does come up, it’ll have enough time to fully dry the leaves of moisture. This lowers the chance of pests like mosquitoes and it prevents from mildew from damaging plants.
Watch Out for Lost Buds
If you’ve got a favorite plant which grows gorgeous flowers and then promptly drops them, the likelihood is that it needs more care. Plants which bud in the summertime, like camellia, often lose their burgeoning flowers as a way to survive moisture deficiency. They sacrifice the bit of themselves which can be quickly regrown when there is more water around.
Don’t Place Pots in Water
Lots of gardeners think that placing outdoor plant pots in saucers of water is the best way to prevent them from drying out. While it does sound like a logical idea, it encourages root rot and attracts mosquitoes. It is much healthier for the plant if it is placed in a saucer of moist sand. Use the same as you would the water; keep it wet and the plant will have plenty to drink.
Boost the Water with Nutrients
If circumstances prevent you from watering frequently, you can keep plants alive by making sure that the moisture soaks deep into the soil. In addition, you can also add health-boosting nutrients directly to it. There are lots of great soluble fertilisers on the market; pick one with super enriching seaweed in its formula.
Don’t Overcut the Lawn
It is a common misconception to think that a very short blade length is better for the lawn. Unfortunately, mowing very close to the ground doesn’t really have any impact on how often you need to mow; nor does it contribute to the health of the grass. In fact, it can encourage the development of nasty weeds like bindii and oxalis.
Safeguard New Plants
Recently planted vegetables and flowers will find it very hard to survive their first few weeks of summer sunshine. You can make it easier on them by erecting a makeshift tent for protection. It doesn’t really matter how you do this (some gardeners use bamboo sticks and an old T-shirt), just that you provide them with 50% shade for at least two weeks. This will help them get started. Once they’re thriving, you can remove the protective barrier.
Why the Summer Is a Time of Opportunity for Gardeners
The summer may be a little testing on plants, veggies, and flowers in Australian gardens, but they all have a great shot at survival if you adapt your care to fit the season. It is all about monitoring your garden and identifying its needs. Don’t forget that the right irrigation equipment can go a long way too; do your research and find high-quality tools and resources online.