Summer holidays are a great time to get out into the garden but the summer heat can be brutal on them. Here are a few tips for the coming months!
Keep the lawn long and lush
Keep your lawn a little longer so that it doesn’t burn. And when you do mow, use fresh lawn clippings to activate your compost heap and even for some light mulching.
Repurpose an old umbrella, or shade cloth on stakes to cover your more delicate plants.
Incorporate items that cannot be recycled or are broken creatively into your garden. Check out some more upcycling ideas on the Wipe Out Waste website.
Mulch is an important part of every garden, especially over summer. The type you choose will depend mainly on the type of garden you have, as well as the time and effort you are willing to put into it. Gardens that are regularly tended and planted such as vegetable patches and flowerbeds are best mulched with sugarcane, pea straw or lucerne. These mulches will slowly degrade, eventually working their way into your soil and adding to its organic matter. Those looking for a longer-term solution might look at ‘woodier’ mulches such as pine bark and chips, or even inorganic options such as gravels and pebbles. Neither add any nutritional value to the garden, but does help with insulating your garden, as well as inhibiting weed growth.
Get into your garden first thing and give everything a good water so plants survive the heat of the day. Never water in the middle of the day when the sun is at it’s hottest as that will burn your plants.
Don’t forget to also leave some water out for animals as the hot weather can cause heat stress for many native animals. Consider installing a bird bath where feathered friends can get some respite – put it somewhere shady and where there is surrounding foliage, so they feel safe
Consider a wicking bed if you tend to forget to water or you are going to be away for a few days. A wicking bed is basically a giant self watering pot! It is a garden bed designed to draw water up from a reservoir below, hence “wicking” through the soil directly to the roots.
Wicking beds have a number of benefits, firstly, it’s a excellent set up for thirsty gardens (like vegie patches) in areas that have lower rainfall, or are affected by water restrictions. Wicking beds also deliver the water where it’s needed – to the plant roots. This minimises water wastage and can also help to reduce the risk of fungal issues.
We have some fantastic wicking beds out at our Wingfield Education Centre that were kindly donated by Finding Workable Solutions. These wicking beds are made from materials that would have otherwise gone to landfill and have put together by talented workers with disabilities and or disadvantaged. We are happily growing some herbs and veggies to use in the KESAB kitchen and the students that visit the Education Centre love to work out what plants are growing!. Because we are not at Wingfield every day, the wicking beds are perfect for us.
A special thanks to Adelaide Resource Recovery for donating the rubble, Jeffries organics for supplying the soil and Finding Workable Solutions for donating the wicking beds for our Wingfield Education Centre garden.