The Aussie summer can be hard enough on people let alone plants. The southern summer is hot, dry and relentless on the garden. Therefore, it’s imperative for avid gardeners to care for their garden as much as they enjoy it!
Here are five essential tips for doing just that:
1.Look after your budding plants
If you have plants that drop their buds and flowers then they are likely drying out. Whether they are planted in the ground or in stylish outdoor pots it is important to mulch and water them twice weekly during hot and dry spells to reduce or alleviate this problem.
2.An early water avoids mildew
It’s always a good idea to water plants when the day is cool. You should try to get out in the morning as it will give the plants time to absorb the water and dry out. If you must dry in the afternoon try to ensure that there is enough time for them to dry out before sunset. Watering early in the day reduces the risk of fungi attacks and mildew whilst making it easier for you to be in the garden without the risk of sunburn or heatstroke!
Mildew is a nasty fungus that attacks cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, roses and other southern garden staples. You might also want to spray plants with a solution of 10 parts water and one part milk – this should only be done as a preemptive measure and not to remedy any pre-existing infection (it won’t work!).
3.Give the water nutrients
Of course, summer is a busy time for the Aussie family! Therefore, it can be hard to find the time to routinely water the plants. Therefore, if you don’t have too much time to water, be sure to water deeply and feed them whilst rectifying mineral problems. A soluble fertiliser with added seaweed should get the job done.
Dissolve potash in water before feeding fruit trees like banana and citrus as this will help improve their delicious juiciness. Potash also helps control anthracnose disease of certain fruits and vegetables so it is imperative for home food gardeners!
4.Keep your pots cool
Gorgeous outdoor potted plants are susceptible to overheating in the southern summer. Therefore, you should take the time to lightly mulch them whilst keeping them out of the hot daytime sun. Standing your lovely potted plants in water saucers encourages mosquitos and root rot so keep them out of wet environments. Instead, you can stand them in moist sand as this will keep the roots cool whilst maintaining the plants’ health. If they do happen to dry out to a point where it is difficult to re-wet them you can always soak them in water for 30 minutes before draining.
5.Keep the lawn lush & vibrant
Summer is the most important-yet-difficult time to care for the lawn. You might have to contend with drought conditions which means minimising water usage. If your lawn becomes brown or weed-infested then it might be too low (a condition known as “scalping”).
People often think that mowing the lawn low means reducing the mowing frequency. In reality, you should mow them as high as your model allows, as longer lawns wear better and prevent nasty weeds like bindii and oxalis from rising to the surface (and we all know just how nasty the old bindii-in-the-foot situation is!).
What’s more, you can use the fresh lawn trimmings for your compost heap. You can easily keep your lawn lush and vibrant through foliar feeding with seaweed tonic added to the solution. You can also add a bit of poultry manure each square metre once a season before irrigation or rain sets in. This should take a couple of weeks to lush up your lawn like never before!