Growing vegetables in the heat of summer can be a challenge but following a few simple steps simplifies the process. First step is to know your region, is it Mediterranean, tropical, wet or dry tropical, dry inland, temperate, or cool and southern tablelands. Once you know your region then select plants that are suitable for your region at that time of year#.
Once the plants are sorted, look at the area you are growing in. Prepare the garden beds with an organic fertiliser such as 5 IN 1 Organic Fertiliser Dig in or Searles Premium Compost and dig through well. This will give nutrients to the plants plus help retain moisture in the soil. Use drip irrigation rather than spray nozzles. In humid weather, wetting the lower foliage can often lead to fungal issues. Drip lines tend to moisten the soil or lay a soaker hose upside down so the water hits the soil. A layer of lucerne or sugar cane mulch over the top of the dripper or soaker hose holds in moisture and decreases the need for watering as often.
Once the plants are in the ground, consider using an insect exclusion netting over the entire garden. This keeps out most pests and, therefore, decreases the need for insecticides. Another advantage is it assists in giving a light shade to the garden and helps to decrease leaf burn. Keep in mind if you are using heritage or heirloom varieties of plants, then they do need the pollinators available for fruit development and netting may not be an option after flowering when fruit appears.
If using pots or containers for your summer crops, then position the pots where they enjoy the morning to midday sun. The afternoon sun has the most bite, so if possible, shelter them from this. When watering, early morning or late afternoon is the best time. Keep the water on the soil rather than the leaves and fruit to decrease the chance of disease issues.
Fertilising is imperative; always have a steady supply of nutrients available to the crop. If growing organically, 5 IN 1 Pellets are perfect, but always follow the instructions on the packet for how much to use and how often to reapply. During the heat of summer, kelp or seaweed is a wonderful anti stresser for plants, apply Seamax Organic Fertiliser fortnightly. This can be watered over the foliage and the soil and helps protect the plant from heat stress. This does not follow the same rules as watering, so it is perfect over the foliage.
Check vegetables weekly for pests or diseases and act immediately with a spray that states it is suitable for edible crops such as Searles Ecofend or Searles Bug Beater. These sprays are a hit and kill, so be sure to get under the leaves when spraying and follow the instructions for how often to reapply. Remember that you are only killing the pests that are present and they will have laid eggs, so be ready to get the offspring.
Now enjoy your summer crops and harvest regularly to encourage the plants to produce more.