Task list to prepare gardens for next week’s heatwave…
- Harvest any nearly-ripe fruit and veg to reduce the load on the trees and plants and to catch it before it gets sunburnt. Make jam, chutney, relish, dried fruit, preserved fruit. Share and swap. Invent a new zucchini recipe!
- Don’t prune off any heat-damaged foliage or remove dead plants yet – let them shade the healthy plants until cooler weather.
- Water slowly and deeply in the evenings or early mornings. Really soak roots before the heat arrives, and again as the soil dries out. Add a little bit of seaweed extract for a nutrient boost.
- Set up shade for as many plants as possible. For melons, pumpkins, vines etc, throw a sheet over and secure it against wind.
- Don’t work in the garden when it’s just too hot or you’ll make yourself sick. Cover up and drink lots of water when you have to go out. Check on crazy old gardeners who just can’t help themselves.
- Provide more water and shade than usual (and cool, damp hiding places) for birds, bees, lizards, chooks and pets.
- Use the extra indoor time to read and plan your late summer and autumn garden adventures…like pruning, composting, planting native gardens…
- Give worms extra water and make sure they have shade, shade, shade! You could even freeze a container of water overnight and leave the huge iceblock in the worm farm to slowly melt during the day (same for heat-sensitive plants).
- Don’t forget the houseplants either (I’m a shocker for neglecting them) – extra water and protection from sunny windows or skylights.
- Don’t go planting. Keep seedlings in damp shade, and seeds indoors.