Prepare Your Garden for a Hot, Dry Summer
Forecasts suggest that most of the country can expect a hot, dry summer ahead, which can be a struggle for any garden. After returning from a relaxing holiday, the veggie garden is often a very serious challenge indeed. Follow our 5 Step Proactive Plan for Home Gardeners to effectively nurture your plants during the hot summer months.
It’s best to water plants in longer, but less frequent sessions. Try watering every 3-5 days, ideally early in the morning or in the evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day. Soaker hoses are best for watering plants, as they apply water directly to the root zone, avoiding water wastage. Set a timer if using sprinklers.
Water deeply for plants like roses to promote deep root growth. Stop when water puddles as the soil has reached its water-holding capacity.
Potted plants dry faster, so water consistently until the saucer shows water. Ensure containers have adequate drainage holes, adding more if necessary.
Regular mulching is absolutely imperative to help keep your garden lush and healthy during summer. Applying a mulch layer, about 50-100mm deep, around plants, trees, and especially in your pots will encourage water retention and keep the media cool during summer, reducing irrigation. Mulching also suppresses weed growth to reduce competition, and protects plant roots.
Regular seaweed application prior to drought conditions can improve plant resilience and reduce the effects of stressors such as heat. Resistance to drought conditions is provided through amino acids and bioactive compounds naturally found in seaweed.
Daltons Garden Time Seafeed Plus NPK improves plant resistance to drought, while providing vital nutrients to promote boosted growth.
Adding compost to the soil can increase the soil’s nutrient status. It can also improve the soil’s structure, for improved aeration and water retention.
In the veggie garden it is normal practice to dig in (mix well with existing soil), compost to a depth of 10-12 cm prior to planting. With existing trees and shrubs, compost can be applied around the plants. We recommend Daltons Garden Time Compost.
It’s best to choose plants that are drought tolerant and suitable for your environment, like certain natives, succulents, African daisies, lavender, and palms. For more efficient watering, group plants with similar water requirements together. Tailoring your watering to meet specific plant requirements will promote healthier growth while conserving water resources.
Learn more about Drought Resistant Plant Selection.
Ensure that your growing media contains a wetting agent to encourage re-wetting in dry conditions, reducing dry spots in the mix and allowing water to uniformly flow through the media.
Choose a mix with good water retention properties. These usually have fibrous materials such as Bark Fibre and Pinegro Engineered Wood Fibre.
Daltons Premium Garden Mix is perfect for all gardens, enhanced with a wetting agent and bark fibre for optimal performance.
Water Conservation Tips
The Smart Water NZ website provides water conservation tips, including guidance on plant selection, planting times, watering techniques, supplementary water sources, mulching, composting, and maintenance strategies.
Summer Garden Tips
Summer blooms, vegetables, strawberries, fruit trees, roses, herbs, and lawns all require specific care to thrive amidst summer conditions.
How to Grow Summer Vegetables
Explore our vegetable garden tips for regional planting, selecting the ideal varieties, feeding, watering, maintenance, and managing pests and diseases.