Help your plants beat the summer heat with these gardening tips

Get prepared: Mulching can help keep soil cool and help your plants survive those hot summer days.
Get prepared: Mulching can help keep soil cool and help your plants survive those hot summer days.

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Rising temperatures in summer can strike fear in the hearts of avid gardeners, worrying that all their hard work will come undone and they might lose their precious plants in the heat.

There are a few things you can do to help your garden make it through summer.

When a very hot day is forecast, give the garden a deep watering the evening before or early in the morning on the day.

Aim the water directly at the soil so it goes to the roots of the plants where it is needed.

Good soil is essential for holding water. To ensure soil will retain water, it needs regular conditioning.

Applications of organic matter such as compost, animal manure, leaf mould or mushroom compost add structure to the soil and help it retain water longer than an unconditioned soil.

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Soil wetters are helpful, especially for sandy soils and pot plants. They improve the penetration of water into the soil to the roots of plants.

If the garden bed has been mulched, remove the mulch before adding the soil wetter.

Mulch keeps soil cool, but if applied too thickly it can prevent water permeating the ground.

It was thought that 7.5 to 10 centimetres of mulch should be added, but research has shown that a five-centimetre layer works just as well.

Never add mulch to dry soil, apply it after heavy rain or a deep watering.

Use an organic mulch (sugar cane or lucerne) as it will eventually break down and add even more structure to the soil.

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