Summer gardening in the Philippines can be fun but also very challenging for urban gardeners, especially those living in Metro Manila. Outside temperatures that reach as high as 38 degrees Celsius could expose the gardener to the risks of a heat stroke and other complications. Even summer plants do get stressed, as too much of the sun’s heat could scorch their leaves. On the bright side, summer is also an opportunity to experiment on new plant species, especially those plants that love to bask in the sun. Some flowering plants, like the marigolds, bloom beautifully during summer.
Beware of too much sun
During summer in the Philippines, it is always best to start the day early, or otherwise, late in the afternoon. Monitor the time, and if needed, set your smartphone to alarm at a designated time of the day. Oftentimes, gardeners get so engrossed with their planting activities that they become unmindful of the time. Extreme summer heat can be dangerous so it is best to move to a shadier area when the sun gets too hot.
Remember to wear light, loosely -fit clothing, that is made of cotton. Have a bottle of water ready nearby, and take regular sips every 15 -30 minutes. Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your head. Summer gardening hats are usually available in garden stores. Choose one that is made of light material with vents that allow air to get through. Occasionally, wipe your face, head and neck area with a wet towel to cool down your body temperature. Don’t forget to use a good sunblock on exposed parts of the body.
Summer Gardening: Plant Care Tips
For plants, daily watering might be needed in most instances. Some summer plants are able to tolerate the summer heat better than others. Vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants are prone to heat stress. As a result, their flowers would just fall off and don’t progress after they have blossomed. Fortunately, when the peak of summer time is over, these plants are back to normal. Some leafy vegetables like the pechay and mustard greens can not withstand prolonged exposure to the sun’s scorching heat. As such, they need to be transferred to a partly shady area where they can still get a few hours of morning sun.
Also during summer, you can still plant new seeds. A good time to sow the seeds is towards the middle of summer. Most plants grow tougher if they had been exposed to a little stress while still young. As you start to move the seedlings outside, make sure to do it gradually. Start with a maximum of 2 hours per day, increasing the exposure every week or so. By the time summer is almost over, the seedlings have grown up and are ready to be transplanted to the soil or a bigger pot.