Summer weather has come early, prepare your garden to flourish!

By late spring, days are getting hotter but plants respond with fast growth. On hot days use the long, cooler evening hours or crisp fresh mornings to tend the garden. With temperatures on the rise, it is also time to be prepared for heatwaves and the treat of bushfires.

 To keep gardens lush, green and full of flowers, increase watering. Warmer weather means faster growth in the vegetable garden so keep on top of weeds, watering and harvesting of tasty produce to share with family and friends.

Helping the garden with heatwave conditions

When a very hot day is forecast it is necessary to protect plants from heat damage. Thoroughly water the garden before the heat arrives (for example the night before or early in the morning). During the day, water any plants that are wilting or showing signs of heat stress. Shade plants that may be burnt using a temporary cover of shadecloth or an old blanket. Remember to remove any covering once the weather cool. This is particularly important for new plantings and seedlings that may not be able take up enough water to survive a heatwave.

As well as suffering from the direct heat of the sun, plants can also be damaged by reflected heat from hard surfaces. Reflected heat not only makes an area hotter, it singes nearby plants. Reduce reflected heat by using flattened cardboard or mats to cover areas of paving in full sun near plants. Organic mulch such as sugarcane mulch, pea straw or lucerne around plants also reduces the temperature and keeps the soil cool and moist.

What to do in your garden in late- spring in November 2023 to prepare for summer
What to do in your garden in late- spring in November 2023 to prepare for summer

Helping pots to cope with heatwave conditions

Pots dry out rapidly and need special attention. Move containerised plants including hanging baskets into a shaded spot such as under a tree or verandah.

Relocate indoor plants away from windows or draw the curtains. Plastic pots especially those dark in colour absorb heat faster than ceramic or glazed pots. Keep plants cool by standing plastic pots inside ceramic pots (known as cover pots). This also adds a decorative touch to any area.

Regular applications of Seasol every two weeks will help to produce healthy growth and strengthen plants to cope with the stress of a heatwave. If you find one of your pot plants is struggling with the stresses of heat, soak it in a bucket of Seasol (40mL per 9 litres of water) for a couple of hours (ensure the whole pot is covered) to help it to recover.

Fire aware

Climate change has meant that more areas are now at risk of bushfires, especially if there is bushland or farmland nearby. If there’s any risk of fire, develop a bushfire plan and take steps to reduce potential bushfire threats.

To make a bushfire plan, consider what you may need to do if a bushfire threatens your property. Plan a route to safety, identify nearby safe locations, consider what to do with pets and farm animals and what to take with you (including photo albums, phones, computers and chargers, medication and prescriptions, documents, valuables, water, changes of clothes, containers and food for pets).

Ensure all your hose and sprayers are working correctly, and water tanks are full at all times. In areas of high fire danger consider installing a sprinkler system on your roof for additional protection.

What to do in your garden in late- spring in November 2023 to prepare for summer

Prepare your property against fire

To prepare your property against fire, do a big clean-up. Remove flammable material (including mulch and stored firewood) near your home, sheds and other outbuildings.

Make sure fencelines are clear and paddocks are slashed. As fire can spread by embers ahead of the main fire front, keep roof areas and gutters clear of flammable debris such as fallen leaves. Also enclose underfloor areas where embers can lodge.

Mown green grass around buildings is a useful deterrent against fire as are borders of fleshy plants such as agapanthus and succulents. Also look at non-combustable mulch such as rocks and pebbles. If possible, keep lawns lush and green through late spring and summer with regular watering.

Five important jobs for late spring

  1. Water gardens more frequently as the weather warms. New plantings, containers and vegetable gardens may need daily or twice daily watering during hot periods.
  2. Mow lawns frequently but lightly to keep them long and lush. Deep water once or twice a week (water restrictions permitting) and treat regularly with Seasol Lawn Care.
  3. Keep weeding, especially when the are young and before they flower and set seed. Cover bare soil after weeding with mulch to reduce regrowth.
  4. Take care of indoor plants by topping up potting mix and re-pot overgrown plants into larger containers. Apply PowerFeed Indoor & Potted Plants regularly to the mix for lush, healthy growth.
  5. Plant tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, chillies, eggplant and lettuce in the vegie patch. Apply Seasol Plant + Soil Booster to the soil when planting. It contains a rich source of natural ingredients and seaweed which promote healthy growth and enhance flowering and fruiting, increasing yields.

Tomato care

While warmth and plenty of sunshine are vital for successful tomatoes, regular feeding with a fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables and watering are important right through the growing season.

Tomatoes also need regular training as most are tall vines that need plenty of space and support to grow. Use tripods or stakes to support tomatoes and train the growth on to this support. Once the vine has reached the top of its support, pinch out the top to encourage more side growth.

As fruit begins to ripen, start fruit fly protection in areas prone to fruit fly by picking ripe fruit immediately to reduce breeding sites and use paper or fine mesh cloth exclusion bags to prevent maturing fruit being stung.

Check out our tips for growing tasty tomatoes.

What to do in your garden in late- spring in November 2023 to prepare for summer
Great tips for growing heat loving herbs Your Garden January 2021

Start a herb garden

Herbs grow well through summer, particularly when it’s hot and dry. They add flavour to meals and are great for beginner gardeners and families with kids as they don’t need lots of cossetting.

Create a herb garden in a sunny part of the garden choosing a spot with well-drained soil. If there’s no space, grow herbs in containers with a premium quality potting mix such as Seasol Advanced Potting Mix. Make sure containers have drainage holes in their bases.

Herbs are a mix of annual and perennial plants. They can be started from seed, seedling or by buying small potted plants. For lots of flavour right through summer get started with basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary and chives.

Check out our tips for growing herbs for your favourite recipe.