Friday, March 23 , 2018, 8:38 am | Fair 47º


Keep Your Garden Soil Cool in July Summer Heat

From mulching, to proper water use, to pest control, and picking and planting, take these steps to prevent problems

One of the biggest challenges for gardeners in July is to keep plants hydrated and the soil cool during one of the warmest months of the year, say experts at Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of earth-friendly soil products made from organic material collected from more than 50 California communities, including many in Santa Barbara County.

» Add Mulch to Save Water, Cool Soil: Add a 1- to 3-inch layer of mulch around your vegetable and flower gardens to slow water evaporation by as much as 70 percent. Less evaporation means less watering. Think of mulch as shade for your soil. Because of less exposure to sunlight, the soil stays cool, holds in moisture and keeps plant roots hydrated longer.

» Add Mulch to Reduce Soil Compaction: Besides its water-saving advantages, mulch also keeps soil healthy. Walking in your garden naturally compacts the soil — to the point that the soil no longer absorbs water well. This can also lead to soil erosion. Mulch protects soil from our footsteps so it remains loose and water absorbing.

» Don’t Over Water: Water thoroughly, not frequently. Watering five minutes a day instead of 10 minutes every other day, for example, means roots become trained to grow close to the surface. The roots will go through a constant wet/dry cycle, which is unhealthy for the plant. Instead, water for longer periods less often. Not only will this reduce water evaporation, but it will encourage deeper root growth.

» Treat Aphids on Citrus Trees: Aphids can be a nuisance on citrus and other types of trees. Aphids are small black insects that when attached to a tree can curl foliage, making the leaves unable to absorb sunlight. They can cause so much stress to the tree that their damage can affect fruit production. A natural way to remove aphids is to mix two cups water, one cup mineral oil and two tablespoons dish soap and spray the mixture onto the aphids every few days. Planting herbs such as mint, fennel and dill around the trees is known to keep bad insects away. Ladybugs are natural aphid predators so consider buying a bagful at a nursery and letting them loose in your yard.

» Pick Vegetables As They Ripen: Tomatoes, peppers and zucchini should be ready to harvest in July. To keep vegetable plants producing for the next month or more, don’t let vegetables remain on the plant past picking time. It’s still not too late to plant summer vegetables since growing season remains strong through October.

» Add to Your Flower Garden: There are a variety of summer annuals ready for planting. They include marigolds, petunias, zinnias, cosmos and sunflowers. Once planted, remove dead flowers immediately to ensure constant blooming.

Click here for more gardening tips.

— Diane Rumbaugh is a publicist representing Agromin.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

John Sener
"I am known for tenacity, diligence, honesty, and sound decision making with the ultimate goal of closing every transaction to the satisfaction of all involved parties."

Full Profile >