Plant selection is key for surviving the summer heat. Tomatoes will thrive during these months.
Plant selection is key for surviving the summer heat. Tomatoes will thrive during these months. iStock

Summer lovin' will ensure your garden survives

Summer gardening can be a bit challenging. It's important to ensure your plants, like you, have all they need to survive and thrive in the heat.

Here are my favourite tips for helping your garden survive the summer with a minimum of effort.

If you are establishing new plants that will be in the ground for a while, use water crystals, soaked in a weak seaweed solution to promote root development, in the bottom of the planting hole. Don't use them in the vegie garden or garden beds that you dig over as you will end up with crystals near the surface of the soil, which is not good.

Mulching is the other great water saver. Every garden bed and every pot should be protected with a layer of mulch. Use whatever you like, so long as it is free of weeds and seeds.

If soil or potting mix gets really dry, it can become water repellent, making it difficult to wet again. If this happens, you will need to correct the problem by using soil wetters. Look for those that are based on natural substances rather than petroleum derivatives.

Plant selection is the other key thing for surviving the summer heat. Mediterranean herbs, like rosemary, oregano, marjoram, thyme and basil, don't really care how hot it gets.

Tender ones like coriander and dill will go to seed more quickly in summer, so plant them where they will get just a few hours of sun in the morning and be in the shade for the rest of the day.

Choose loose leaf varieties of lettuce and grow them in semi-shade. You can put a simple light shade structure over your vegie garden for the next few months to protect your crops.

Tomatoes, chillis, capsicum, sweet corn, cucumbers, beans, eggplants, watermelons, rockmelons and pumpkins will all thrive through summer.

Caring for a garden is a bit like caring for a family or a pet. You need to be observant and responsive, and be prepared to hang in there even when the going gets a bit tough.

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