container_garden_summer_heat_tips_mamashealth

Creating a container garden can be both rewarding and exciting. Watching and nourishing the tiny seeds that was packaged for a large or small area can be shared will all family members. Each produce can be easily labeled and cared for accordingly. Wooden barrels, hanging baskets, planters, and large flowerpots are a small sampling of some of the containers that can be used.

By growing your garden in containers it allows you to transport and move them around according to their needs. You may need more water for some and less sunshine for others. You can use window sills if you’re in an apartment or your back porch.

Planting a container garden is a great way to utilize small spaces like balconies and control the quality of soil. It is perfect for both organic vegetables or herb gardening.

Container gardening during the summer

Keeping your plants alive during the hot summer months are takes a lot of time and effort. But with a little preparation, your plants will not only survive the hot months, but thrive afterwards.

Plants ‘pause’ and stop functioning when the weather reaches 90°F. They literally go into survival mode. The leaves  stop transpiring (so they won’t evaporate water), roots do not take up water (because the leaves can’t release it). The plant sits there and waits for the hot weather to pass. Plants will start to function at regular capacity after temperatures stabilize at 85° or lower.

So what do you do? Water, water, and more water the days leading up to hot weather. If you know it is going to be 90°F on Monday, give your plants a deep watering Friday and Sunday. This will give them time to soak up enough water to make it through the hot spell. Do NOT water during excessive heat. This can ‘drown’ the plant because the roots can’t absorb the water and the leaves can’t release it.

Give your plants shade during extreme temperatures

If possible, protect your plants with a shade cloth. If you don’t have shade cloth, you can make breathable shade with newspaper. Shade is important because it will protect plants from a sudden rise in temparature.

Tips to remember:

  • Avoid containers with narrow openings.
  • Use a peat-moss based potting mix as the foundation
  • Cheap plastic pots may deteriorate in UV sunlight and terracotta pots dry out rapidly.
  • The size and color of the container also matters. Bigger pots require less watering, and darker colors absorb heat and help plants grow in the summer.
  • Glazed ceramic pots are excellent choices but require several drainage holes.
  • Wooden containers are susceptible to rot.
  • Container gardening gives plants a chance to thrive indoors where they normally wouldn’t.
  • Redwood and cedar are relatively rot resistant and can be used without staining or painting.
  • Avoid wood treated with creosote, penta or other toxic compounds since the vapors can damage the plants.

All containers should have several holes in the bottom of the pot because excess water will harm a plant. With proper care and attention, many gardens will thrive in containers.