Scorching temps can kill a garden. Keep your green friends alive with these tips.
Mulch It Up
What's mulch and what does it do? Basically, mulch is any material that shields the soil's surface, while letting air and water through. It insulates plant roots from heat, and keeps in moisture, so you can water less (and spend more time reading gardening blogs).
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There are different types of mulch, which can be purchased in big bags at the garden center:
- Organic mulches—Composed of cut or shredded bark, they add a nutritional kick to the soil.
- Non-organic mulches—Compost, aged manure, and gravel all provide good soil protection.
Just put down a two-inch layer around your ground and container plants. Avoid sprinkling mulch around the stems of plants because too much moisture can cause plant rot (and that is bad).
When the thermometer hits 85 degrees or higher, unwind your garden hose and keep these things in mind:
- Don't ignore wilting plants—it's their way of telling you they're starting to die of thirst.
- Water early in the morning and the afternoon. If you water late at night, your plants could develop a fungus.
- Container plants and new plants need more watering because their roots are shallow. If it's in the 90s or higher, water twice a day.
- BUT…be careful not to overwater because that's a plant-killer, too. Check the soil with your finger. If it's moist, hold off. If it's powdery, water.
- Find a watering can that's comfortable to use. Real Simple offers some stylish ideas we like.