5 Top Tips to Help Your Garden Survive the Heat-Wave
Nobody doubted that summer would bring us some joy with a few rays of sunshine. But the fact that we have been sweating for weeks in this record summer without rain at a constant temperature over 30°C has also surprised many hobby gardeners. Many of them are starting to get nervous in the face of this long drought: We pull up seedlings in the spring, water carefully, check regularly whether there are secret snail attacks happening at night or not, and now suddenly we have to worry whether our garden will survive this unexpected heat wave.
Of course, many plants are happy about the extra sunlight. Mediterranean plants, in particular, are really blooming this summer, and gardens with less sun exposure refuel with enough sunshine during such days to produce more vegetables than usual. You also don’t have to worry too much about brown grass: Although crispy brown turf is not very nice to look at, it’s traditionally very sturdy and usually recovers well after one or two showers of rain. If you still want to keep a green lawn, you shouldn’t mow at noon; the exposed tips of grass will burn. And when watering: Water less often with larger quantities so the lawn gets really soaked. Frequently watering with small amounts of water only ensures that the roots stay on the surface and the lawn dries out even faster.
Even if Mediterranean plants are happy about the sunshine: The hot temperatures nevertheless cause dry soil, burnt leaves and nutrient depletion at the roots. That’s why we’ve brought together our concentrated plant expertise so hobby gardeners can protect their garden from the heat wave:
Tip # 1: Water, water, water
The best remedy for dehydrating leaves and roots is of course proper irrigation of the plants. But watering is not always just watering. In general: In strong sunshine, you should never get out the garden hose at noon. Similar to a magnifying glass, water droplets on leaves can lead to direct burns on the plants due to the reflection of the sunlight.
Hobby gardeners should use soft, warm rainwater for watering, which can be gathered easily in a rain barrel. During dry times such as the last few weeks, you might need to use house water as well. We recommend using a garden sprayer with different settings. It is especially important for flowers that you water with a gentle drizzle instead of a hard spray. A leak protector to prevent water damage is also practical for those who have no water connection in the garden and need to tap the water from the kitchen or bathroom.
While many plants enjoy more sunshine, more sensitive vegetables, herbs and flowers can really be damaged. The leaves can be “burned” by sun and drought. Of course, we aren't talking about real flames, but the leaves simply dry up from the outside in. As a result, the plant can carry out less photosynthesis and no longer gets enough energy to grow and produce fruits and vegetables.
A white sunscreen for plants can help here. It doesn’t heat up due to the light fabric colour, lets enough UV rays through to allow the plants to continue to photosynthesise, and is rain-permeable.
The consequence of increased watering during hot days: The earth loses important nutrients and fruits and vegetables grow slowly and sparingly. However, we recommend some caution when choosing a fertiliser. Because everything the plant absorbs from the fertiliser can ultimately end up on our plates in our fruits and vegetables.
We recommend a potassium-containing organic fertiliser; it supplies fruits and vegetables with important nutrients without harsh chemicals.
If the heat has dried up the lawn a bit too much, you will still find a quick fix here. Brown and bald spots can be replenished through targeted lawn repair. It's easy: Slightly loosen the existing lawn with the help of a rake; burned areas don't have to be ripped out. After loosening the soil, you can easily fill the spots with a mixture of grass seed, germ substrate, long-term lawn fertiliser and germ-promoting components with your hands.
Then water with a garden sprayer. During the first days of growth, you should water the new and old grass once a day. You can see that the soil is too dry when the substrate appears light brown between the seed and fertiliser. Mow the new lawn for the first time when it has grown for at least 15-20 cm. And don’t forget: Never mow the lawn at noon when it’s hot and sunny.
Bark mulch has several advantages: You can strongly counteract weed growth by a neatly mulched surface. The mulch protects smaller seeds from strong sunlight and ensures that weeds cannot grow. Existing plants whose leaves are already protruding from the soil are not negatively affected.
Another great thing: Bark mulch prevents the evaporation of water from the soil and keeps beds moist for longer. Particularly water-thirsty plants such as zucchini will be grateful.
All mulch kinds prevent weeds and provide for humid soil. But we recommend mulch from pine bark as it smells very pleasantly and is slightly more decorative than conventional bark mulch due to its grained surface.