Sun, Sun! Go Away!
I wish the moisture to stay
My plants are drying
The flowers are crying
Can you stop heating for a while?
The question that keeps on bothering us in such times is how to keep our plants cool in spite of the temperature extremes?
How? How? How?
The guilt grows when you watch your beloved plants drying up miserably. These are the times when you feel you should not have started gardening in the first place, right? But, do you think it is your fault at all? If you neighbours can do it; if other people can do it, why can’t you? Reducing evaporation and maintaining temperatures is not rocket science, is it?
In India, the hot seasons can go to any length to cause harassment, illness and drought. But, there are certain tricks – a few water saving techniques that can prevent excess evaporation and save your plants from drying.
Oh Yes! And, the good news is, you can achieve this end sans spending much of your time or resources. Now, you are curious! Well, read on to know the amazing gardening hacks that can help you prevent excessive water loss during Summer.
Harvest the valuable life-saving resource – Water
Invest in a slimline water tank to preserve rainwater for use in your garden. Installing water tanks will maximize runoffs from the terrace and redirect it to your plants. It is one of the many ways by which you can harvest water during the hot Summer months. You can also preserve your cooking water and use it in your garden. It is rich in nutrients that enhance the growth and development of your plants. So, the next time, you are about to flush it down the sink after boiling your veggies in it, remember your plants are thirsty and, save the nutrient-rich water for them. Also, collect and keep the water from your fish tank for use in the garden, as it is quite rich in Phosphorus and Nitrogen.
Pick the right time for watering your plants
You should water your plants in the early hours of the morning as the heat is minimum at that time, preventing excess evaporation. If you water the plants during the noon, most of it will dry up before penetrating the soil and reaching the roots. And, if you water them in the evening, the inadequate heat may give rise to fungal pathogens in the excess moisture. So, the best time to water your plants is obviously during the early hours of the day, when the temperature conditions are favorable, the winds are lower and everything seems right.
Buy the right container for your plants
Research well before you go shopping for containers. There are pots available in various sizes, shapes and materials. According to the experts, it is best to invest in a container that retains moisture for the most part of the day and, helps the plant to survive droughts. If you are shopping online, see if you can contact the customer service and seek information regarding the material of the containers. That will help you take a suitable decision regarding your plants.
Get a moisture meter to check water needs
This small, yet, extremely useful device can help you understand your plants’ needs more effectively. It measures the moisture content in the soil thus giving you a better understanding of how much watering is needed and when. If the moisture levels fall to 10-30%, you should water the plants immediately. If it is well between 40-70%, it indicates favorable conditions and you need not do anything at all. But, if it exceeds 80% readings, you have to look for ways to drain the excess moisture from the soil.
Add more organic matter to the soil
A rich compost containing worm castings and food scrubs helps retain moisture in the soil. The more organic matter, the lesser evaporation. These organic substances absorb a lot of moisture and release them during emergencies. Plants thrive in a soil rich in humus, so make sure you compost every now and then to facilitate growth, development and production.
Mulch and Mulch
If you do not have this protective layer on the top of the soil, you may lose 70% of water due to evaporation. Make it a point to cover the soil with dry leaves or lawn waste or anything you can get your hands on. Just make sure they retain moisture and keep evaporation at bay.
Besides reducing water loss, you have to take care of some other factors to keep your plants safe during the hot Summer season. Use superior quality organic fertilizers in the soil to maintain a constant supply of rich nutrients and install a proper drainage system to prevent waterlogging and soil erosion. Talk to the experts if you still need some advice on Summer gardening. After all, we all want the best for your plants.