With near-record temperatures in North Texas, we may not feel like venturing outside, but gardeners know there are always things to get done. Here are five top heat-smart gardening tips:
1. Plan gardening chores early. It may seem like a no-brainer for comfort, but it’s easier on plants, too. Make sure to water well before 10 a.m., as temperatures are soaring into the 90s by then at this time of year. Wet leaves plus burning hot sunshine equals steamed spinach for some plants. The water will absorb better into cooler soil, too.
2. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Three to four inches of mulch in your beds should be enough. Repeat seasonally twice a year because organic matter breaks down.
3. Choose plants wisely. If suffering from bare spots in beds or containers, tuck in heat-tolerant color annuals such as lantana, purslane, ornamental peppers and Angelonia here and there as needed–they can take it. We won’t see petunias, marigolds and other transitional color until September.
4. Plan for fall. It may be scorching now, but autumn is right around the corner. August is the time to seed wildflowers and begin planting bearded irises. It’s also an important time for cutting back and feeding roses to ensure a great show when temperatures cool in fall.
5. Don’t neglect the veggies, including a crop of tomatoes for fall harvest. Keep them fed and watered on schedule for a great crop. Clear out any spring-planted tomatoes that are spent, as well as spent plants of squash, peppers and any others. If not replanting those spots immediately, apply a soil activator such as Medina and top dress with a thick layer of organic compost. When it’s time to tuck in fall veggies, the soil will be richly recharged and ready to go. August is the time to start fall veggie seeds indoors.
We can garden in the heat with a bit of planning and preparation, and set the stage for a beautiful (and flavorful) fall.
For more information, call North Haven Gardens, located at 7700 Northaven Rd, Dallas, at 214-363-5316 or visit NHG.com/gardeneducation/classes-workshops.
For more stories like this read Natural Awakenings Dallas-Ft Worth magazine at NADallas.com