When people think of Phoenix, what often comes to mind is the desert, cacti, and heat. In reality, we are one of the fastest growing cities, which means there is always something to do. If you really want to get away from the desert landscape, we are a short drive away from the pines or a beach! However, while we are off exploring cooler weather, what are our beloved plants to do? During the months of April through August, things start to feel like an oven in the valley! If you do the research, there are ways to help your plants make it through the hot months so they can enjoy our beautiful weather the rest of the year. You too can rock the summer gardening! Here are just a few ways to promote the longevity of your photosynthetic companions:
– Add more mulch! This will help to slow down the natural evaporation processes.
– Water your plants at night! This also helps with avoiding evaporation, and it prevents the water from burning your plants in the middle of the day.
– Consider adding ollas to your irrigation strategy. They’re terra cotta pots buried underground, and the water seeps out from the pots into the soil, ensuring root-deep nourishment! Plus, there’s no plastic or major expenses.
– Prune sparingly: it promotes growth, but remember that your plants are already under attack from the heat. So, careful not to prune too much! Give the wilted leaves time to bounce back before removing them; excessive pruning causes unnecessary stress for your plants.
– Select plant varieties that mature quickly.
– Plant sunflowers! A) They’re delightful, B) they provide much-needed shade to your more delicate plants, and C) they’re so fitting! Plant ’em through July.
– Traveling a lot, or just looking to stay out of the heat? Give your garden a break and replenish your soil! Here are three great ways to make the most of it: rest+water, plant cover crops+turn the crops into the soil, or solarize soil to ward off the weeds, diseases, and nematodes!