Summer gardening is here!

Summer is definitely here.  Even though this year has felt a little cooler than average (perhaps because of the weak El Niño we are experiencing at the moment) the temperature in the Genus garden over the last week has seen temperatures up to 24o C.  We have had very little rain, so the garden is really very dry now.  Our experience suggests that English summers can suddenly turn to mini-heatwaves. So we decided it was time we switched into hot and warm weather gardening mode!

It’s not only gardens that need extra care and consideration in hot weather. Gardeners need looking after too.  We have slipped out of our 3-Season trousers, and into our summer gardening clothes.  The Summer Gardening Trousers are specially designed for warm weather, they have the same great technical features, but are made of a light cotton, stretch fabric. This helps to keep us cool and move around comfortably.

We have also changed our gardening activities.  Heavy work in hot weather is not good for gardeners, so there is no more digging in the midday sun for a while, not least because digging causes water stress to plants and increases the amount of evaporating soil water.

We have started mulching madly, particularly in the veg garden, to make the water that is there stay where it needs to be.  We used the clippings from the last cut of the lawn to help out with that.  Our watering regime has changed too.  It’s now heavy watering once or twice a week, right at the base of the most important plants (new plantings and the veg garden), rather than less directed daily watering (unless it’s anything in the greenhouse of course!).

There has been lots of research to show that this is a better approach to managing water stress.  Light watering encourages surface rooting, whereas heavy soaking encourages deeper root architectures that can withstand drought better.  We do remember of course that this is England.  Hopefully these responses to the warmer days, and our preparations for hot and dry months to come won’t be misplaced!