Oh my goodness it has been hot these last few weeks! A week or so ago we had a run of 5 days over 40 °C and the last few days have been really hot too. It has been so hot lately it has been hard to think about what February gardening jobs might need doing besides watering the plants!
We reached 41 yesterday, 42 today and we have another hot day tomorrow coming up before we get a much needed cool change. We have basically been spending our days indoors because it has been just too hot to work outside. Once evening time arrives we are outside watering the garden. Worst thing about gardening in the evening is the mosquitos! There are some great home remedies for mozzie bites thought!
February will most likely be a hot month too, but the experts are saying that we shouldn’t get as many heatwaves. Apparently we normally get the most heatwaves each summer in January – I certainly hope that they are right!
We have basically just been doing what we can to make sure the garden can survive the hot weather. Ongoing February gardening jobs for us will include; deep watering our large trees, feeding the plants and vegetables with seaweed liquid fertilizer, and pulling any weeds that are competing with our plants for moisture.
The long hot days have meant that many of the plants are getting their leaves burnt off. We have been busy rigging up shade structures around the affected plants to try and help them cope.
I mentioned back in October that I was going to plant out some variegated Hebe plants. Well we did plant them out back in spring but they have had a really hard time with the heat. Their foliage has been quite badly burnt off and I had to make a shade cloth “tent” around them to try and save them.
I hope that they recover when the weather does cool down.
We also have a relatively new Waratah plant (shown right) that has also been burnt off in the full sun. We have also had to put some temporary shade over it when the weather is really hot.
The vegetable garden has also struggled in the baking sun. Our poor pumpkins looked dreadful during the first heat wave. The leaves were just so droopy – they would just manage to recover after having a good drink at night and then they would have to endure another really hot day!
Our beans were also having a hard time in the heat. They were just starting to get some flowers when the first heatwave hit and they were all burnt off.
It is really hard to watch something that you have nurtured for weeks struggling to cope in the heat.
We were scared that we might lose some of the vegetables altogether so we put a big piece of shade cloth over the vegie patch. That has made all the difference. The vegies seem to be able to cope fairly well even when the temperature is over 40.
Despite the hot weather we have still been enjoying lots of home-grown vegies. The carrots haven’t really been affected by the hot weather so we have been enjoying lots of them. We planted some regular orange carrots and some purple carrots and both varieties have done well.
Another plant in the vegie garden that has hardly noticed the heat is the cucumbers. Some of the developing fruit was burnt off in the first heatwave in January but other than that they have been fine.
We have been eating lots of salads this weather so the yummy carrots and cucumbers have been great. Cucumber is probably my favourite salad vegetable and I love just eating it cold and crunchy straight out of the fridge!
The wildlife has also struggled in the heat. We have seen birds and lizards seeking out some water and a shady spot close to the house. Our birdbath is out in the sun so we have put lots of containers out around the garden in shady spots so that the birds can get a drink.
There have been some birds down on the ground seeking water and shelter that we just don’t normally see. One such bird is the grey butcherbird. I have heard its call many times but I have never seen one before this summer! I even managed to snap a picture of one today (shown on the right)!
The magpies, noisy miners and rosellas have also been seen sitting in the shade with their beaks open and their wings slightly open trying to cool off.
I hope that the weather does cool down a bit in February because it is so frustrating being cooped up inside on a hot day. One thing I will be doing soon is planning for autumn. We have really enjoyed growing our own vegies so now we will have to work out what we want to grow for autumn!
If you would like further inspiration on what else can be done in the garden during February I can recommend the following links:
February Gardening in Australia:
For my northern hemisphere visitors.
February gardening in the northern hemisphere:
What do you do to help your garden cope during a heatwave?