It’s Hot Out There! Top Tips for Gardening During a Heatwave
19th June 2022
Phew, what a scorcher! When it’s hot outside like it has been recently, it it a great time to be outside enjoying the garden. But what should you be doing to keep your garden happy? Is gardening during a heatwave a bad idea?
Tips for gardening during a heatwave
Here are our top tips to ensure that you can look after your garden, including the lawn and borders during the hot weather and keep it looking fabulous even during a heatwave.
Firstly, it pays know your garden
Is your garden south or east facing, and is it in sun for most of the day? What type of soil do you have, and does it retain moisture (like clay/loam, for example) or is it bad at keeping water (like sandy soil).
East facing gardens do tend to keep more moisture so you can plant more delicate flowers and plants; whereas if want to plant succulents and silver foliage plants including lavender they will thrive in hotter, more arid environments where the sun shines most of the day.
Don’t panic! You don’t need to keep watering grass
Grass is extremely hardy and good at dealing with a lack of water. Even if it turns brown and patchy, you will find that your grass will be able to bounce back when it rains again in the autumn, so there is no need to keep wasting water on it.
Water your plants in the morning and evening
When bright sunlight shines through water it can act a bit like a magnifying glass and scorch the leaves of your plans, so it is best to water potted plants first thing in the morning or at the end of the day when the sun is not as strong.
Leave digging for the time being
Avoid digging in hot, dry weather. Not only is it hard, sweaty work but it can destroy the structure of the soil, increase moisture loss and disturb plant roots – so it’s something that is best left until the autumn.
Introduce mulch into the soil early on
If you dig in organic matter into your borders during the spring, it will help the flower beds to retain more moisture. Around 5cm of mulch in your borders will keep your garden looking its best during a heatwave.
Look after your veggies!
There are lots of veggies love the heat but you need to keep gardening during a heatwave and keep them well watered daily to help them grow. It is a mistake to leave your vegetable patch bare; try to grow companion plants around your seedlings or cover the bare earth with green manures.
Some crops even need to be sown in the summer, so make sure you don’t miss the window.
Surface rooting plants which grow above the ground, for example lettuce and tomatoes, tend to wilt quickly and will require more care and watering during a heatwave, whereas deeper rooting vegetables such as potatoes and carrots are likely to be more resilient, but do ensure they still get adequately watered.
Train your plants
Frequent shallow watering encourages plant roots to stay at the surface however if you provide them with less regular, but more thorough watering, then it will train the plants to send their roots deeper which helps them to become far more resilient to droughts and heatwaves. Start with watering young plants this way and they will easily adapt, and get used to being watered more irregularly meaning that if you forget, or go away for a weekend, they are less likely to wilt or die in the meantime.