Tips and Guides

6 Ways to Summer-Proof Your Garden

Keep your plants green and growing with these tips

Photography: Pexels | Joanne E. Bohol

The intense summer heat can make us feel wilted and dehydrated. Lucky for us, we can easily reach for a drink or shield ourselves from the sun, but our plants need a little help keeping healthy, most especially during these sweltering months.

Here are common garden problems that arise during this extra hot season, and easy remedies you can do to maintain your green space.

1. To avoid under-watering, maintain a watering schedule.

Make it an early morning ritual, or a late afternoon activity to help you wind down after a busy working day.

2. Make sure you are using the right pots.

Root rot may occur if water is left standing too long inside a plant container, an effect more commonly experienced with glazed ceramic pots, especially those without drainage holes. Terracotta pots are porous, inexpensive, and widely available in garden supplies stores, and they normally have drainage holes in them.

3. Like human skin, cacti and succulents may experience surface burns when left under direct sun for too long. 

Burnt leaves will have dark circles on them, or they will simply dry out and fall off. Try to move potted cacti and succulents to partially shaded areas, or place them under bigger shrubs so that they may enjoy dappled light. Despite thriving well in desert-like conditions, cacti and succulents can still benefit from a few hours of shade. 

4. With the increased absence of moisture, soil dries out much faster, and becomes more conducive for certain pests to live in, such as common (but extremely pesky) ants.

They may set up mini colonies within the root ball of your favorite herbs, and this can result in unhealthy growth, even plant death. Be on the lookout for lines of those little crawlers making their way to your herbs. Regular watering can wash them away and discourage further visits, but for extra stubborn ants, using a liquid ant killer such as Terro (available in hardware stores) will take care of the problem without harming your plants. 

5. Still on the topic of soil drying out faster than usual, placing mulch on the soil around your plants will not only help retain moisture, but can also improve soil fertility, and even suppress weed growth.

You may use grain hulls, used coffee grounds, grass clippings, or even torn up bits of newspaper as mulch.

6. It is perfectly normal to have plants become brown and dried out during this season. 

Best to clip them off and prune your plants to healthier levels. This will encourage new growth of branches, leaves, even flowers. Use this time for them to recover and focus their energies on growing healthy again. Before you know it, your garden will be colorful and lively again, in time to receive the grace of the rainy season.

The summer is a great opportunity to plant some flowering ornamentals such as zinnias, cockscomb, and the well-loved sunflowers. A visit to the seed section in your supermarket will allow you to choose from a variety of seed packets, with planting instructions and growing conditions conveniently included. Another easy option would be to avail of ready-to-grow seedling kits, which include prepared soil, seed packs, biodegradable pots and care instructions.

RL Tip: Find seedling kits at Ramgo International Corporation, #33 General Lim St., Heroes Hills, Santa Cruz, Quezon City. You can also check out MNLGrowkits.

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