Keeping Plants Alive in the Summer

No one enjoys dead plants. If summer’s heat is killing what you are growing, let us offer a few tips to make gardening easier.

The best way to have healthy plants in the summer is by planning your plantings. Do a little research in advance to make sure that you are planting what is appropriate for your weather conditions. For example, if you live in a really wet climate, you may not want to grow desert cactus.

Secondly, choose the right place to plant your garden. (This can also be enhanced by understanding what type of plants go with your climate.) Look up your desired vegetable or flower on the Internet. Learn what it needs and plant it where it will be most happy.

If you are using pots, don’t forget to pick a container big enough for what you are planting. The more soil that you have around the roots, the easier it will be for the plant to survive if it encounters a dry spell. Small posts will dry out faster.

Check your plants every morning and water as needed.  (Put your fingers in the soil to see if it is dry. If the soil feels hot and is bone dry, you need to water. If the soil is cool and squishy, you may want to cut back on the watering. Consistently wet soil can invite disease.)  By watering in the morning, it will be a cooler time of day and will create a rhythm for your plant care cycle. If you get in the habit of watering every morning, it will decrease the likelihood that you’ll forget to do it. If you see the forecast is suggesting extreme heat, go ahead and really douse your plants. It will help keep them cool and happy.

If extreme heat is prolonged, you may need to water more often or even multiple times during the day.  If you don’t have time to check your plants more than once a day, you may want to consider installing drip lines and using a timer. It will take a bit of experimenting to figure out a good match of watering times to the requirements of your current temperatures. However, you’ve already planned to check your plants every morning, so you’re partly there.

If you make a mistake and your plant wilts, you may be able to save it. If it is in a pot, move it to a shady area , over water it and drop the pot into a couple inches of water inside another container for a few minutes. (Don’t let the water go all the way up to your potting soil or you might lose it.) This may save your plant. Once you’ve given it a chance to perk up, remove any dead leaves. Leave the pot in the shad for a couple of hours and move it back, once it is refreshed. If you can’t move your plant, water it until the soil puddles. The extra water may help save it.

Being diligent about checking on your plants will help keep them alive and make you a happier gardener. If you have questions, please post them on our Facebook page.

Cheryl Hughey (on behalf of Mr. Stacky)