In this episode, Beverly is joined by Angela Chandler of The Garden Academy. They discussed heat stress over the summer and proper ways to water and soil your gardens.

♪ [music] ♪- [Beverly] Hi, I’m Beverly Welch. We’re here at The Arbor Gate in Tomball, Texas with the one and only, Angela Chandler from The Garden Academy. –

[Angela] Hi, Beverly.

– How are you doing today?

– Doing great.

– You know one of the big issues here on the Gulf Coast with our…you know, we love our container gardens. Our containers, our baskets is heat stress and watering through the summer. It’s so easy to overwater, confusing heat of the day wilt with dryness. And then we water because we think it’s dry when it was only hot. Then it wilts because it was wet and we watered it again.

So it gets to be a vicious cycle. I think a big proponent or a big part of that problem is the soil we choose.

– A lot of it is the soil. You know plants wilt to protect themselves. And so the most that we can do to try to keep that stress down a little bit is beneficial to the plants throughout the heat of the summer and the potting soil is a major issue at that. The most common potting soil is going to be a peat-based potting soil. And peat has its place in the garden.

But for long-term planting of a container, you really need to get them out of the peat and into a compost-based potting soil. One of the reasons is that peat has a tendency to develop wet spots and dry spots. So there’s uneven watering within your container. A lot of people don’t realize that peat actually repels water.

– It does.

– And they have to add a surfactant at the factory to make it draw water in. So it’s fine while this stays moist but if it ever gets dry, it’s very hard to rehydrate it.

– Oh, it is. It packs. It becomes hydrophobic. You’ll see your water run across the top and then down the edge of the pot.

– Sides of the container.

– Not getting to the root ball at all.

– Exactly. And if you ever have a chance to pull that part, you can see the root mass is in there but it’s very, very dry. Compost-based potting soil on the other hand, doesn’t do that. The compost is not hydrophobic. It loves to absorb moisture. And a good potting soil that has this expanded shale in it, what happens is the expanded shale is very porous.

And it draws water in when you water or when it rains and then it slowly releases that back into the media as the plants need it. So it also doesn’t develop those wet spots, dry spots. And if it ever does get a little too dry, if it gets away from you, it will rehydrate quite easily.

– It really does. And I can attest to that because my pots can be sorely neglected. I have some on the driveway on the west side of my house so they’ve got the concrete. And they don’t get watered often, maybe once a week, even in the heat of the summer. And they do beautifully.

– Right. It’s…the soil does make a difference. In addition, this provides nutrients to the plants… It does. which they really need when they get stressed out.

– It really does. And speaking of stressed out, you have a great tonic. And I have to tell you I use it myself and the results are amazing.

– Oh, that’s wonderful to hear.

– Do you want to share it with us?

– I sure do.

– Okay.

– You know, I actually started doing this in the vegetable garden but then I found out that the whole garden sort of really likes it. And this is kind of in the principles of the same way we do for us, when we get really hot and really stressed out, we need the electrolytes. And the electrolytes is just a word that covers a variety of minerals that our bodies need to be able to kind of get that little lift when we’re feeling really, really hot and tired.

So plants do the same thing. So it’s really pretty easy. It’s a combination of Epsom salts. And Epsom salt is not a sodium salt. So people don’t have to be afraid of that word salt in their garden. This is actually minerals, magnesium, and sulfate, both of which help with a little stress. It’s two tablespoons to a gallon.

But I like to use body metrics. And I know that my closed hand is about that two tablespoons. An open hand might be as much as a quarter of a cup. So I can use that as a measurement. Then I need two tablespoons of liquid seaweed. And we can use the cup for that measurement. This is close enough to that tablespoon that we can use that.

That’d be different. And then the next thing we’re going to actually need is the SUPERthrive. And SUPERthrive also is vitamins and plant hormones that help them with the stress. We can use this as a pre-planting solution.

– Right. It’s a great transplant mix.

– We can soak our transplants. You can water them in with this to help them through their transplant shock. And it needs about a teaspoon. So the capful will give you about that much. So no need to haul out all the measuring devices. Then we want to add about a gallon of water to this mix. Slish it up a little bit until it’s nice and diluted.

And then just drench your plants with it. Containers around the root ball in your garden works very well. You can slosh it on the foliage if you want to, to absolutely no harm at all. Then if you want to give them a little bit of an extra boost, that’s when we would go to a foliar feed. So we would use this tonic as the soil drench. And then we would move to something like Foliar Plus, which is a seaweed-based product with a little bit of compost tea and some other great things.

And put that on the foliage. The foliage really absorbs minerals quickly. And it’ll really get them through some of these hot days when they’re looking a little weary.

– Well, I have to tell you when I tried it at home, I saw results immediately.

– Yes. Almost overnight.

– Exactly.

– It’s just that little bit of boost that they need to recover.

– Well, thank you so much for sharing that secret.

– Thank you, Beverly. ♪ [music] ♪