Gardening is an incredibly rewarding hobby. There is nothing more relaxing and enjoyable than connecting with nature. Plus, weeding, digging, watering, raking, planting, and other gardening work can help to improve flexibility and overall fitness.
I’m sure that many of the regulars here at Jowett & Moulton Chiropractic will use some of their summer breaks to tackle their gardens. Here are some suggestions to help you keep your plants healthy during the hottest months of the year:
Keep them hydrated
Sudden loss of buds and flowers, yellowish or dried leaves towards the bottom of the plants, and retarded growth are some of the common signs of dehydration. To have a healthy, lush green garden, you need to keep your plants hydrated throughout the hot season.
- Water your plants at least twice a week. Increase the frequency, if required.
- Water plants in the early morning to avoid evaporation. If you can’t water during the morning hours, you may want to water them during the late afternoon.
- Do not water the plants in the evening or at night. This is because excess water may not evaporate, which can cause a fungal infection in plants.
Fertilise and Mulch
Apart from improving the soil quality, fertilisers help retain moisture. This is the most important factor that decides the health of your plants during the hot and dry weather. You should fertilise your soil every six weeks. Compost is better than the chemical-based fertilisers as it has a good water-holding capacity.
Mulching can also help your plants withstand the hot weather. You can cover the soil of your garden with pine straw, shredded wood, grass clippings, shredded leaves, or any other mulch material. The mulch blanket will prevent excessive evaporation, and keep the soil cool.
Take good care of potted plants
Potted plants are more vulnerable to hot weather. The pot can’t hold much water to keep the roots cool and hydrated. To keep them safe:
- Move potted plants to a more protected area where they will receive sunlight for only a few hours.
- Pot-saucers filled with water are helpful but attract mosquitoes and other insects. Fill them with sand instead and keep the sand moist.
- Mulch the potted plants with organic materials every three to four weeks.
- If your potted plants have dried out excessively, soak them in a bucket of water for 30 minutes.
Let the grass grow taller
Raise the height of your lawn-mower blade to let the grass grow little taller. When you mow higher, you give more coverage to your garden soil, which minimises evaporation and helps the soil remain cool.
Look out for weeds and pests
Weeds love summer and, unfortunately, they have a great tolerance level. If you don’t dig them out of your garden, they will steal moisture and nutrients from the soil. Further, weeds often bring along insects and pests. To keep your garden healthy, look out for them every week and pull them out manually right from their roots. If you are unable to control them, call your local gardening company for help.
Gardening safety tips for summer:
- Gardening is a great summer exercise but it can be strenuous as well, especially for older Australians. Garden at your own pace and listen to your body. Pain and discomfort is your body’s way of telling you it’s had enough. Take frequent breaks and be mindful of your posture.
- Try to garden in the morning or afternoon, when the sun is less harsh. Be sure to wear sunscreen and appropriate sun protection.
- Take frequent breaks and keep yourself hydrated.
- Take care when using power tools or working at heights. If you ever feel unsafe doing anything it’s a good sign that it might be worth calling in an expert.