Gardening during the hot season presents challenges that are not present during the rest of the year. If you are newer to the gardening world you may not be aware of some of these challenges or how to handle them. Even if you are an experienced gardener, brushing up is always a good idea. Staying up to speed can only enhance your abilities as a gardener as the information gets ingrained more and more over time. With that said, here are some tips to deal with the heat during the summer and keep your plants flourishing.
Add Mulch: Laying down an one to two inches of mulch over your planting beds will help you conserve moisture so you plants can stay hydrated. The sun naturally speeds up evaporation and can rob your plants of all important water.
Give Your Plants Some Space: Being careful to not over plant is important as a crowded planting bed can prevent the soil from retaining enough moisture for each plant to consume an adequate amount. Give your plants room to breathe (or drink, for that matter) and they will thrive.
Make Sure There is Shade: Making sure your plants are shaded during the hottest parts of the day will go a long way in you achieving your gardening goals during the hot portion of the year. It will help your plants stay comfortable and retain moisture.
Soak Pots: Make sure the potting mix in your pots stays moist so it can deliver water adequately to the root system of you plant. If the potting mix dries out, water will merely run down the sides of the pot, between the pot’s walls and the clump of dried out soil. Make sure your pots always contain moisture in the soil.
Use Less Fertilizer: While this may seem counter intuitive, withholding fertilizer from your plants during the summer will prevent them from growing to large and needing larger amounts of water, which can be difficult to retain.
Drink Water!!!: The Arizona heat and sun can absolutely rob your body of moisture and valuable hydration. Heat born illnesses can be extremely painful and even deadly, but they are easily avoidable. Maintaining proper hydration is all you need to do in order to keep heat stroke at bay. Take a bottle of ice cold water out into your garden with you and think about watering yourself while you are watering your plants.
Wear a Hat: Wearing hats will keep the sun out of your eyes and off of your shoulders, if the hat is fully brimmed. Sun exposure can be very damaging to your skin if the exposure is too intense. This is especially true for sensitive facial and shoulder skin.
Wear Sun Protection: Protecting your body from harmful uv rays can be done in several ways. Sun block is an option as long as you have a strong enough spf, but sun block can be harmful in it’s own right if you have allergies or sensitivities. Another option is to where light colored and lightly weighted clothing to create a barrier between your skin and the sun. Light clothing that can reflect sun light away from your skin can also help keep you cool.