Gardening in a Heatwave!
With temperatures set to soar over the next few days it's not only us that will be getting thirsty and wilting in the heat, your plants will need some extra attention too!
In the Greenhouse
Plants can be very susceptible to the extreme heat which can quickly damage plants with scorching and drying out. Following these simple tips will help your plants:-
- Ventilation - Open doors and windows - it is worth investing in an autovent which will automatically open and close windows as temperatures rise and fall. It may even be worth investing in louvre slatted vents for the greenhouse. These will draw in in coller air lower down in the greenhouse as the hot air rises.
- Circulation - it is important to encourage circulation in the greenhouse, greenhouse heaters often have a fan setting which is ideal for the summer months to keep the air moving...and again keep the windows and doors open!
- Shading - Greenhouse shading can be a great way to protect plants from scorching. There are some other products available that you can paint on the glass to help reflect the suns rays, but we have found that fixing shade netting in the greenhouse is a quick and simple way to stop scorching.
- Don't Forget to Water!
In the Garden
Pots of annuals can be moved into the shade to protect from the suns rays during particularly warm spells and make sure these are well watered. Try to water the soil rather than the foliage to reduce evaporation. After the hot spell the plants can be tided up and given a feed before moving back to their sunnier spot where they should get going again.
For larger immovable pots concentrate on watering these slowly, especially plants such as Hydrangea and Acer as these can quickly succumb to the heat if the roots get too hot.
In beds and borders if you applied mulch earlier in the year then they should be pretty good at retaining moisture, but during a heatwave make sure you up the watering. Always remember to water in the early evening, if you water during the heat of the day, water on the leaves can evaporate quickly and cause scorching. Also remember to water around the roots of the plant, slowly and thoroughly so the water is really getting to the roots rather than evaporating off the soil surface. The soil should be moist about the same size as the canopy of the plant.
Don't be tempted to water established lawns, as although they can go brown quite fast they will quickly green up again as soon as there is some rain. You can keep mowing, but set the blades a bit higher so the grass still offers some shade to the soil.
In the Vegetable Patch
Follow the same rules, water in the evening, water the soil rather than the leaves of the plant and water slowly and thoroughly. Some plants will thrive from the additional sunshine but don't forget they will need more water during the heat.
Focus on plants which need water for their fruits to swell such as courgettes, potatoes and tomatoes and make these top of your watering list each evening.
Another option is to set up an irrigation system with an automatic timer so that the water is delivered at the best time of day and you can also control how much water the plants receive. Micro irrigation kits or soaker hoses are a very popular way of ensuring regular, effective watering and they also mean you won't be holding a hose for hours on end!
So most of all enjoy the sunshine, but remember your plants might not be enjoying it quite as much, so give them a bit more care than normal when the mercury rises!