Summer is upon us!
One concern during this season, especially in the southern and central regions of the country, is how to maintain a beautiful garden without being exposed too much to the wilting sun. For gardeners, it is important that you know which plants need special care during this time of the year.
This requires knowing how to manage sun exposure and water usage for your plants.
So here are ten tips from EasyShed, to consider when active in your gardening during the harsh summertime weather this year, and in years to come.
1. Learn about sun exposure
Most plants need sunlight to grow, but too much sun can be harmful to some. As a gardener, you need to be aware of sun exposure terms/measurements in gardening: full sun, full shade, partial sun, partial shade, and dappled sun.
Whilst there is no exact science to measure sun exposure with gadgets, you can easily determine if the plants get full sun exposure from morning to afternoon with your own observation. Natural sheds such as trees can partially protect them at certain hours, whilst a garden shed can provide full cover from sunlight.
Knowledge of these natural and artificial garden shedding systems is important so that you’ll know how to manage your plants. For the best growth of the plants, you have to label them for their sun exposure requirements or preferences.
Some plants need full sun exposure, meaning six hours of direct sunlight. Full sun plants are fine with a thick layer of mulch, so that the moisture in the soil can be conserved, and the coolness in the root can be retained. Mulching is discussed in the third tip of this article.
Flowering annual and perennial plants are full sun ones. Partial sun plants, on the contrary, need minimal sun exposure. Partial shade is not to be confused with partial sun. Partial shade plants want to be spared from the intense afternoon sunlight.
Full shade plants, like mushrooms, can survive in the dark, but that doesn’t mean they will collapse or die under direct sunlight. They can endure if they are exposed to less than three hours of direct sunlight everyday. The remainder of the day will be fine for them as long as it is filtered sunlight.
Lastly, a plant is called dappled sun when the sunlight passes through the branches of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are those that shred their leaves annually when their growth period is over.
With all these in mind, provide yourself with a list of full sun plants, full shade plants, partial sun plants, dappled sun plants, and partial shade plants. Knowing where to put them in your garden will allow you to have a blooming backyard.
As mentioned, you don’t need any measuring gadget to tell whether it is full sun, partial sun, full shade, and partial shade using measuring gadgets. The only real gauge is how well the plants are growing. Observing, according to experts, is still the best way to learn about your plant. The plant is probably not in the ideal shed if the leaves look burnt or if the flowers look gangly.
2. Try xeriscaping
Understand what “xeriscaping” is, but don’t worry because this is not a highly technical and nerve-wracking word. This is a good method to consider when gardening in the summertime. With it, you would need less water, less fertiliser, and less pesticide but you could still make your garden healthy.
Before you get the definition of xeriscaping, it is important that you know why you need to do it. Be aware that your source of water is limited especially during the summer season, so conserving it whilst continuously providing moisture to your plants is highly important.
By applying the techniques that will be detailed in the subsequent discussions, you will be able to conserve your water usage, yet still achieve a healthy garden. It is a given that whenever you engage in gardening, you will affect your own water source and maybe that of your community. You will, in one way or another, rely on nearby bodies of water. Especially in summertime, the need for water arises substantially.
Simply, xeriscaping means water-wise or water-efficient landscaping designed to conserve water, yet allowing you to maintain a beautiful garden. It is derived from the Greek term, xeros (dry). It is a gardening method that involves wisely choosing plants that are suited for the location or site, making the site into a landscape that can be maintained with a supporting watering system.
For the enlightenment of the beginning gardeners, xeriscaping just requires common sense in growing plants, particularly in maintaining your garden and storage sheds.
3. Master mulching
Mulching is combining soil with other materials so that the plants can get proper moisture and nutrients from it. You can mulch organic decays and debris to achieve a water-efficient shed.
This and the next four topics may be considered under xeriscaping. Mulching can improve the penetration and retention of water. It is the alternative to throwing away the dirt in your garden to do away with untidiness. Instead of getting rid of those pieces of dirt such as leaves, shredded branches, barks, and other organic debris, you can actually make use of them.
Remember that the space of your garden will naturally develop coats of decay into the soil. Your tendency is to feel irritated by the sight of them, so you want to clean them up and throw them away. Even if it’s the case, just rake them in. However, avoid including non-organic filth such as plastic wrappers/materials that found their way into your lawn.
Mulching makes the soil temperature moderate, keeps the moisture intact, slows if not prevents erosion, and suppresses the nasty weeds that compete with plants for nutrients, especially the water that you strive hard to conserve during the summer season. Only four inches of mulch is necessary for your garden. Just replenish it during each season.
4. Group your plants by their water needs
If you pay attention to this important gardening consideration, you can use water only where it is needed. Be aware that not all plants require the same amount of water. If you place your plants every which way, without sorting them according to their water requirements, you are wasting your time and effort as well as the precious water. Eventually, you would end up pointing your water spray over to a direction where both the less-water-demanding plants and the water-glutton plants party together during watering, but the former get waterlogged.
Drought-resistant plants are appropriate in areas exposed to full daylight, whilst less drought-tolerant plants such as partial shade ones are best in areas near the water source. Thus, one efficient method of gardening during the summer season is by grouping the plants.
5. Moisten the soil
Improve the soil if the sun exposure is rather hard to manage. Just take care of the soil if you cannot avoid worrying about and affording painstaking measures to control the effects of the scourging sun. What you need to be concerned about is how to lessen the plant’s need for supplemental water. The right technique is by incorporating large amounts of organic matters so that the soil will be rich, loose, and water-holding.
This is an efficient way to eliminate the need for constant watering which may require additional expenses. This technique encourages the development of good root that can thrive with minimal water. When the root is good naturally, the need for supplemental water is thus eliminated. Marie Iannotti of thespruce.com reiterates the old adage that remains true in gardening to this day: “If you take care of the soil, the soil will take care of the plants.”
6. Establish drought-tolerant plants
This means that you have to first select the drought-resistant plants for your garden so that you know which ones to prepare for the drought. Set them up in your garden before they get stressed by the drought. Setting up the plants means acclimatizing them. This means letting them develop a good rooting system according to the processes as detailed in the preceding discussions.
7. Manage pests and weeds
First prevent, not control, pests and weeds with these very simple pieces of advice. The general tendency is to apply insecticides and other pest control chemicals. However, that’s speaking of control which may also be harmful to your plants. What you need to know is a preventive simple measure. For gardening expert Mick Telkamp, spacing the plants is crucial because “good air circulation between plants can help decrease the risk of disease and insect problems.
As with weeds, the general solution would be to apply weed-exterminating chemicals, but that’s also speaking about control. What you need to do is prevention. You should be aware that weeds produce thousands of seeds a year, according to gardening expert Justin W. Hancock of Better Homes & Gardens. A single dandelion plant, for example, can produce 2,000 seeds annually, whilst a lamb’s quarters can scatter 150,000 seeds.
His very simple preventive advice is to pluck weeds up whilst they are still young because they are easiest to twitch up when they are at this stage, being still small. You need to stop weeds from producing seeds long before you have much more trouble controlling them with weed control chemicals and other painstaking measures. Pluck them at the earliest stage so that they won’t have a chance to compete with the moisture and nutrients for your plants.
8. Aesthetics come secondary
Do not plan, design, and maintain your garden and its sheds according to aesthetic considerations first.
By aesthetic, it means being visually-artistic, appealing, and beautiful. Rather, the primary factors that should be taken into account are the soil, the topography, the exposure, and the garden or storage sheds. The visual beauty will follow and will be easier to deal with if the biological makeup of the garden and its shedding with its plants is put in place first.
9. Manage your watering activity
Know the time and manner of watering without checking out your schedule. P&G Everyday advises gardeners to regularly check the dampness of the soil. By using a clear-coloured stick or even your finger, you can check out if there is still no need for watering. If your finger or the stick gets damp half an inch into the ground, you know that you have to forego watering. You can do the same thing with your thick-layered mulch.
As with your potted plants, they, of course, carry weight. By constantly carrying and hauling them, you will develop a feel of their weight. When they become lighter, you will know that it is watering time.
10. Test your watering formula
Get to know this intelligent formula-con-tester from Harlowgardens to see if you are watering too much or too little.
Place some empty cans around your lawn when you are watering. After you water, see how much the gathered water in each can measures. Based on the contents of the cans, you realise two things about your manner of watering: you will find out if you do your watering evenly or if you have gathered two to three inches of water per week and not more than three. This means you can tell if your watering is adequate.
In summary, gardening during summer in Australia requires you to manage sun exposure and water resources. These are key elements in setting up a healthy garden.
Your garden surely will look better with a garden shed. More than an aesthetic feature, a garden shed will also allow you to protect plants from the sweltering Aussie summer. Aside from storing your gardening tools, a shed can provide you and your plants with respite from the heat. For the best garden sheds in Australia, look for EasyShed.