As the summer temperatures rise to triple digits, we have to find ways to minimize heat stress on our garden and landscaping plants. Water is a precious natural resource that can never be taken for granted, so gardeners should take care that their gardening methods are water wise. There are two main things we do to ensure that we are using less water in our garden.
1. Use a soaker hose in the garden.
Using a soaker hose, like the one in the picture above – it’s similar to this one but only 50 feet, instead of a regular hose or watering can allows you to water more deeply and water at the ground level. Watering the leaves of the plant wastes water through evaporation and can actually contribute to the spreading of disease. We spread our soaker hose between the plants to allow it to water more than one plant at a time, placing the water just where it’s needed.
Be sure to read the directions carefully about how kind of coverage your soaker hose will provide – some will have a larger spread than others. This will also help you determine how long of a hose you need to fill the garden area. When you add the extra benefits of mulch with it, you have a perfect combination to help keep your garden looking good through summer’s heat.
2. Mulch the garden with a thick layer of mulch.
In our vegetable garden we usually mulch with a thick later of straw, while in our curb-facing flower beds, I use untreated, uncolored bark because it’s more attractive. Both are biodegradable, although the straw breaks down in just a season or two while the bark chips have to be replenished each year to look the best. We picked up four bags of bark chips from Lowe’s for about $10 each, although I wish I had picked up 6. We will be adding two more to make sure it’s thick enough to block out the weeds.
Mulch will help conserve water by protecting the earth from evaporating effects of the wind. It will also help smother out weeds that would compete with your desired plants for water and nutrients. An organic mulch like straw or bark chips, for example, will break down and decompose adding nutrients and improving the quality of the soil.
With the summer heat just beginning to hit, it will be important to keep your plants as healthy as possible. Heat stress decreases their yield, makes them weaker, and in the case of fruit bearing plants, can lessen the sweetness of the fruit. Make every drop of water count in your garden by watering carefully and mulching your garden with a thick layer of organic mulch.
This post is written as part of my once-a-month challenges for Lowe’s Creative Ideas, and I was compensated for the materials used. My photos, words, opinions, and such are as always, my own. Check out all of the fabulous ideas from the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Creators and Influencers team, by checking out the Creative Ideas magazine online or via iPad subscription and following Lowe’s on Facebook and Pinterest.