Getting The Most Out Of Your Garden This Summer

Summer is just around the corner, but if last year is anything to go by then, it's going to be a hot one. While your garden can often thrive with a bit of sunlight and warmth, too much and it can be more harmful than good. So you need to be prepared just in case this happens again this year. Several easy tricks can keep your plants cool, productive, and also lessen your water usage. Gardening is fun and a great hobby but it isn't always easy when you have to rely on things like the weather, and hot weather can be especially tough on your plants. However, with some of these tips, you can still have a healthy and productive garden.

Install Windbreaks
There's no way of truly knowing what the summer will bring and how the weather's going to be, so you need to be prepared for any weather, and it could be windy. Wind gushing through your garden can not only damage plants but can also cause soil moisture to evaporate. Install or grow windbreaks in your garden, they don't need to be solid and stop all the wind, and they can be quickly made from pallet fencing. You can even have living windbreaks, by getting some tall annual crops or shorter perennials that won't shade your garden too much like berry bushes or dwarf fruit trees depending on how much space you have. Place these perpendicular to the direction of the wind.

Invest In Or Make Some Shade Cloth
Shade cloth can be beneficial for keeping those cool-season plants like peas and spinach producing longer. It can also be used over new plants that are adjusting to conditions or seeds like lettuce that prefer cold soils to grow.

Use Mulch
Using a lot of mulch is one of the easiest ways to keep soil temperatures cooler and moisture levels up. Mulch also cuts down on the amount of weeding you have to do. Good mulch options include grass clippings, straw, hay, or old leaves all of which can be combined with cardboard or newspaper.

Water Your Garden
Your watering schedule will be unique to your garden, but you should make sure that you keep the soil moist. Waiting for your plants to start wilting before you realize it's time to water can harm their health and will reduce what your plants harvest. As well as staying on top of watering your plants consistently, you should also try to water at the best times of the day which are usually early morning and evening. Less water evaporates at this time because it has a chance to soak into the soil before the sun comes out.

Practice Interplanting
Growing plants like watermelons, cucumbers, gourds, squashes, sweet potatoes under taller plants like corn, sorghum, and sunflowers can help you make the most of your space and keep the soil fresh. The vining plants (watermelons, cucumbers, etc.) will shade the soil, block weeds, and hold moisture once they're mature enough.

Build A Shade Trellis
Create a trellis for climbing plants like cucumbers or runner beans and then plant cold weather loving crops in the shade that they create. Trellises like these are often set up, so they're slanted to provide maximum shade.

Use Intensive Planting
Intensive planting is where plants are grown in beds, and not rows; they are often planted hexagonally. Planting in this way maximizes space. Mature plants may touch the leaves, but there will still be plenty of room for their roots. These plants then shade the soil reducing moisture loss and blocking weeds. Planting intensively works best with healthy soils because you'll need it for growing more plants with less space.

Transplant At The Right Times
If you are transplanting crops into your garden then it is best to avoid the heat and sun as much as possible, for your sake and for the plants. Transplant either in the early morning, late evening or on a cloudy day for the best results as the plants will suffer less transplant shock if you do it that way.

Catch Rainwater
Again, if you're transplanting, dig your hole a little bit deeper and create a basin around each plant which extends outwards a little beyond the edges of its crown. This will funnel rainwater towards the roots. If you are planting seeds dig your trench slightly more in-depth than you would normally so that Rainwater can run down into it even after you've covered your seeds. If you're feeling productive, install some rain barrels in your gutters too!

Choose Crops Wisely
The summer is a good time to start direct seeding crops that can handle the heat. Go for plants like watermelon, okra, roselle, lima beans, and southern peas.

Manage Your Soil And Crops Well
Whenever you are gardening, you should always be thinking about keeping your soil and your plants healthy. Doing maintenance work like crop rotation, cover cropping, and applying compost will keep your soil and plants healthy. Well-nourished, disease-free plants will tolerate the stress of hot weather much better than those already struggling.

Invest In A Patio Roof
If you don't already have a patio, then they are great for the garden and especially in the summer. There are also many benefits of getting a patio roof as it helps to extend your living space or can create an additional space altogether. In the winter you can close it off to reduce the cold getting into the home, and in the summer you can open up this space to help reduce solar gain in the house. If you have or are thinking of having sliding glass doors or bi-folding doors installed, then you will need to think about how to prevent solar gain in your home. Solar gain happens once the sun directly hits the glass doors on your home, making the temperature in your home to rise. Having a patio roof can prevent this by allowing you to tilt the slats or keep them wholly shut, reflecting the sunlight away from your home. 

Investing in your garden can really change your summer, make it somewhere nice for you and the whole family to enjoy being in. It doesn’t have to be expensive but if you do need to get yourself a fast loan so you can get it all done before the summer begins, you won’t regret it.