Doing your bit for green cover is not just a catch phrase any more.
Home gardening has come a long way from being a post-retirement hobby to an essential daily chore for the usual office-going crowd. The easiest way to contribute to the environment is to probably grow as many potted plants in your balcony/porch as possible. However, taking care of potted plants is no easy task. Constant monitoring is key to a lively garden. Of several issues that might crop up for a home gardener, one is how to ensure the plants are able to sustain during the scorching summer season. In many parts of the world, especially regions with tropical climate, temperatures may soar beyond 40 degrees Celsius, which is hard for humans and plants alike. Fortunately, there are a few simple tips that might help you ensure the greenery of your balcony is retained through these temperatures.
Choose your plants carefully
Similar to the concept of crop-rotation in agriculture, even potted plants need to be rotated. Knowing which plants to keep growing in summer can save you a lot of heartache from when a non-adapting plant dies of over-heat. Choose plants that are hardy by nature. Do your own research rather than relying on the version of your local nursery keeper. Some examples of hardy summer plants could be cactus, summer vegetable plants (cucumber, onions, tomatoes, chillies, pumpkin, to name a few), summer flowering plants (hibiscus, lilies, petunia, jasmine, and so on), non-flowering plants with light green or whitish leaves, any other plant that looks hardy. Be sure to plant less number of flowering plants as compared to non-flowering plants, because flowering plants in general require more care regardless of the season.
Although it is quite a no-brainer that plants need to be watered regularly and prudently, it is surprising to find how several home gardeners get it wrong. Watering is not enough, it is important to use just the right amount and the right way to administer it. In peak summer, constant monitoring is important, because most plants would need to be watered twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. Although the morning water is an absolute necessity, the need for watering in the evening may vary depending on the hardiness of the plant. Some plants just seem to soak up all the water you can give, while others do fine with a bit less. The key is to monitor the top of the soil for dryness and cracks. If the soil is dry, add just as much water as is needed for the surface to be wet again. If it is cracked, water a bit more deeply, because you should have ideally watered it before the cracks began to appear. Along with the soil, it is also essential to sprinkle water on the leaves every other day or so, to make up for the complete loss of rainfall.
Potted plants need regular help with fertilizers in all seasons, and the summer season demands the most. It does not mean that you need to increase the frequency of supplementing with fertilizers, it just means that you need to strictly maintain your fertilizing routine without a miss. Unlike during the monsoon season, when plenty of rainfall ensures high frequency of fertilizers is not essential (although it does not harm), during summer, all your plants have to hold on to for nutrition are the fertilizers.
Other tips for summer gardening include providing as much shade to your plants as possible, by moving the plants around, remaining alert for pests, and regularly using chemical-free medicines in order to avoid them, and last of all, loving your plants, and spending time with them. Yes, they can feel it!
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