Summer in Perth is a great time for the beach, barbecues and generally enjoying the sunshine. It’s also the time of year many watch their veggie patches turn to burnt plants and dried out, nutrient deficient soil.
BUT summer gardening can be fun and bountiful by following some simple guidelines to get the most out of your patch.
First things first though…………..wide brimmed hat and plenty of sunscreen!
Perth is generally classed as a Mediterranean climate – cool winters and warm, dry summers – and we average around 60 days of over 30 degree weather each summer which can place a lot of stress on certain fruit and vegetable varieties.
So some of my best tips for keeping your vegetable patch going strong over the hot summer months.
- Make sure you plant suitable vegetable and fruit varieties that thrive in the heat. Pumpkin, zucchini, melons and sweet corn are some varieties that love the heat, if you want to look like an expert gardener get yourself a grapevine and fig tree that thrive in Perth’s summer.
- Water early and/or late afternoon in the cooler periods but don’t let mildew stay on leaves into the night as this can cause fungus problems, of course if you use drippers going directly to the soil then you can water as late as you like as the leaves will not be affected.
- Similarly DON’T garden in the middle of the day when it is 35 degrees, there is no better way to destroy your love of gardening!
- If you are planting new seeds and seedlings keep them covered with shade cloth or hessian for a few weeks and ensure the soil stays moist at all times. For that matter cover all your vegetable beds with a 50% shade cloth during days over 30 degrees.
- Mulch Mulch Mulch, this stops evaporation and soil drying out, I generally use pea straw as a cheap and effective vegetable garden mulch.
- Use a soluble fertiliser weekly in the hotter periods, think of it like a fresh squeezed energy juice for vegetables!
- Lastly check all your irrigation systems whilst they are in use and make sure everything is getting water and you have no blockages or broken sprinklers/drippers.
Enjoy your summer garden and the reward of fresh salads, juices and more straight from your own back yard.
Jason your Suburban Farmer