It looking like a glorious summer week ahead of us - full of sunshine and hot temperatures. Today is sunny and spectacular – and it made us think of a few of the bad parts of those super sunny and warm July days….
First up – we love this weather – so anything negative you read below is more about weather from the gardening side - not ours! Sunny and warm – bring it on baby!
Feed Your Plants
As we water the hanging baskets today – after watering them yesterday – and the day before – and the day before – keep in mind that all of that watering flushes out the plant nutrients….and our basket plants are really growing nicely – so they are using up the plant nutrients that are in the basket soil. What ‘flushing and growing’ means is that this is officially the start of ‘your baskets are getting hungry’ season. Even with time-release plant food mixed in the soil back in May when we did our planting – you should start to think about adding extra plant food.
We are fond of plant foods like 15-30-15 for baskets, like Miracle-Gro's Bloom Buster – but there are a zillion types at the garden centre and it is important to think about adding extra plant food now. We like to use the ‘mix it less strong and use it more often’ trick – so around our baskets, they are getting 15-30-15 mixed to a weak solution – but then applied every few waterings. If you are too busy for liquid feeds, then top dressing (darn – another buzzword – top dressing is a fancy way to say 'sprinkle some on top of the soil') granular plant food is ok.
Keep an eye on the leaf colour of your petunias or calibrachoa as good indicator plants. These plants will yellow out first if they are hungry. We always give these guys more plant food than the rest of the herd and in a few weeks will break out some iron supplement too.
Water deeply and Consistently
With this heat, watch your watering on any new plants that you have installed this spring. We added some ground covers to a garden bed and days like today can cook the roots. Remember that newly planted plants have not yet pushed roots deep into the soil – so they need a little more water than established plants. Also with the newly planted plants, make sure you water deeply – we want those roots to grow ‘down’ to find water – not grow around the soil surface. Deeply rooted plants will handle the real heat of July and August better than the same plant with a shallow root mass.
Finally, keep an eye on your weeds.
We know you know this, BUT pulling little baby weeds is easier than pulling those same weeds two weeks later. We like to do weeding as our first garden activity as we like it the least. It is easier to pull weeds when the soil is moist, to get all the roots if we can. Plus getting weeds out first makes us happy (when the task is done) and then the rest of day just seems to go smoothly.
We have heard folks talk about ‘an inch of water a week’… Which is in many cases, not the right amount. Sigh. So – let's start with the ‘what the heck is an ‘inch’ of water?’… Rainfall is measured in cm in most countries, or inches in that largish country just a wee bit south of us.