An Australian summer is notorious for bringing all kinds of weather to our shores – from scorching sun to drenching rains. Here’s a checklist of garden tasks that will keep your green thumbs busy and your garden looking schmick.
Freshen up for summer
As the days get hotter and hotter, sometimes it’s just not possible to do everything you’d hoped in your garden. But it’s not a total no-go zone. You can give your garden beds a quick refresh with a layer of mulch, potted colour by doorways or flowering plants in garden beds and freshly trimmed lawn edges.
Keep your lawn long
It’s a common misconception that trimming your lawn down low reduces the amount of times you need to pull the mower out of the shed. Lawns that turn brown, develop bare patches and become infested with weeds are common symptoms of scalping – that is, cutting the lawn too low. Especially in the hotter months, mow your lawn as high as your lawnmower allows you. Lengthy grass will wear better and deter weeds, such as pesky bindii.
Look after your potted plants
Plants in pots – especially those in stone, concrete or terracotta pots – are susceptible to overheating. When the days are hot, try to position them in the shade or shelter them from the hot western sun. Top tip: If your plants in pots dry out to the point where water won’t soak into the soil, soak the potted plant in a tub of water for around 30-minutes, then stand to drain.
Water in the cooler parts of the day
Avoid watering your garden in the scorching sun. Instead, water during the cooler parts of the day, if necessary. The morning is best, but if you opt for the afternoon, allow enough time for your plants to dry out before the mozzies and sandflies appear.
Feed and water deeply
It’s common to experience water restrictions during the hotter months in Australia, so if you’re limited by how much you can water, aim to water your plants deeply. Also take this as an opportunity to feed your plants and correct mineral deficiency. Soluble fertilisers are ideal, especially seaweed-based solutions.
Avoid the sun!
For garden tasks that require time and energy, do these in the cooler parts of the day (usually before 10am and after 4pm). It’s safer and you’re much more likely to be more efficient in the garden. When working outdoors in the summer months, ensure you stay hydrated, wear a hat, cover up with UV-rated clothes (long sleeves are ideal) and apply sunscreen to any exposed parts of skin.
Shelter new plants
If you’ve just put new plants in the ground, including vegie or fruit seedlings, they’ll need time to adjust to the sun. Provide them with protection by way of 50% shade-cloth or similar for a week or two. A little TLC goes a long way!
Water is precious, so ensure your hoses and irrigation systems are free of blockages or holes. You can also take a moment to clear gutters of leaf debris and ensure run-off is directed to rainwater tanks. Perhaps you can install gutter mesh to prevent future blockages? Also, cover openings to your rainwater tanks with mesh to prevent mosquitoes entering the tank.