The days are beginning to warm up, and the anxiety about how your garden will survive the intense summer heat is rising as fast as the mercury in the thermometer. 

Here are 10 ways to help your garden survive summer. Take a deep breath, grab a cool drink, and read them under the shade of your favorite tree before it gets too hot. 

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.

1. Plant your garden at the right time

If you do nothing else on this list, this one tip will help you be successful. Use a planting guide meant for your area and follow itPlanting at the right time helps garden plants to be established before the heat of summer comes. Healthy plants tolerate hot summer weather better than those struggling to get established. 

If you live in the low desert of Arizona, click here to see the planting guides I use.  

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

2. Choose the right plants for your garden

Look for varieties of crops that are adapted to do well in your area. If certain diseases are a problem, look for disease-resistant varieties. If you have shorter seasons like we do here in the low desert of Arizona, choose lower “days to harvest” varieties.

Examples of heat-loving plants include: sweet potatoes, okra, Malabar spinach, asparagus beans, roselle hibiscus, and basil.

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

3. Be aware of microclimates in your yard

Pay attention to both the sunny and shady areas of your yard, especially during the hottest months of the year. The sun’s angle changes – know which areas will be affected the most by the hot late-afternoon sun.

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

4. Water your garden correctly to help it survive the summer

Most problems in the garden can be traced back to watering issues, such as not enough, too much, or sporadic. Invest in some sort of automated system. A watering system can be as simple as a battery-powered timer connected to a garden hose. Consistent watering will make all the difference in your garden. 

Water in the early morning to give roots time to absorb the moisture. Watering during cooler hours also reduces loss from evaporation and heat.

For more information about how to correctly water your garden, read this article. 

5. Mulch, mulch, mulch to help your garden survive summer

Mulch is a hot summer gardener’s best friend. Add 3-5 inches of organic mulch (compost, composted mulch, *straw, shredded leaves, pine needles, newspaper, cardboard) to see these benefits: 

  • Helps retain moisture
  • Helps keep soil cool
  • Deters weeds 
  • Adds organic matter to soil as it decomposes

*Straw is a better option for mulch than hay, because hay often contains seeds which can sprout in the garden. Straw normally has fewer seeds and sprouting is less of a problem.

Reasons to add mulch
10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

6. Provide shade for your summer garden

Nearly all plants benefit from some afternoon shade during the hottest months of the year. Providing shade is like giving your plants a layer of sunscreen. This article gives several ideas for adding shade to your garden. Here are some guidelines for selecting shade cloth fabric: 

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

7. Keep an eye on the wind

Hot, dry wind during the summer can take a toll on your plants. Ensure your young trees have support, and any shade structures or trellises are secured properly. Windy air also increases moisture loss in plants. Give your plants a big drink after a windstorm to replenish the lost moisture.

8. Don’t let the dust settle

Dust storms are stressful on plants. If a dust storm isn’t followed by rain, you may need to do the job and rinse the dust off your plants.

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

9. Baby your containers to help them survive the summer

Containers heat up more quickly than in-ground plants, and dry out even quicker. Because plants’ roots in containers can’t seek out moisture and cooler temperatures below ground, they rely on you to provide everything they need. 

Plants in containers often need to be watered every day during the hottest months of the year. Use a moisture meter to check if they need water to prevent over-watering. (This is the moisture meter I use from Amazon.) If possible, consider moving containers to the more shaded or covered areas of your yard.

I use  ollas from Growoya in all my containers. I think they are the best way to water outdoor potted plants. If you would like more information about using ollas, check out their website. Use code GROWING for a small discount.

10. Adjust expectations

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

In the hottest parts of the country, your garden will probably not look its best during the heat of the summer. Pollen in tomato and pepper plants isn’t viable when temperatures are over 100℉. During very hot weather, many plants focus on staying alive rather than growing

As temperatures begin to cool in the fall, plants (like us) will be relieved and welcome the cooler temperatures.

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

What would you like to read next?

10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

3 Comments on 10 Ways to Help Your Garden Survive Summer

  1. I learned a lot! Thank you. It’s June and I’m still growing brussels sprouts.
    They look healthy but started late. Also have a eggplant that is blooming and has
    one growing! I have an umbrella up on the west side of the garden. I’ll start giving
    the garden more showers on dusty days coming. I’m going to be optimitic going into this

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