Life Hacks: Your Summer Garden

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Summer days are no “day at the beach” for gardeners. Most Floridians will tell you that it’s tough to keep plants thriving during our blazing summer heat. There are a few hacks that will help you keep more of your garden green.

Hack #1: Do Your Research

Seminole Heights gardener Bill Weisweaver cuts down on trial and error in his garden by going to legitimate sources of information like the University of Florida and the local Extension Service websites.

“They’ll tell you what to plant, when to plant. They’ll tell you the best kinds of tomatoes, the best kinds of whatever,” said Weisweaver.

Now that he knows what to plant, he uses a spreadsheet to keep track on when he planted, when he watered and when he fertilized. That way, he is not out in the summer heat any longer than he has to be.

“The more organized you are, it’s better for the plants, and you can go back in the AC,” said Weisweaver.

Hack #2: Try Container Gardening

If your home doesn’t have the right sun at the right time for a particular plant, use a moveable pot. Then, move the plant into and out of the sun as needed.

Hack #3: Diffuse Direct Sunlight

The direct rays of the summer sun can be murderous to sensitive plants. Weisweaver uses stakes on the sides of his garden to drape a layer of burlap over the plants.

“They have sunshade that’s about 40 dollars a roll. That’s 10,” Weisweaver explained. Basically does the same thing, just diffuses the sun so the UV rays are not so intense.”

Hack #4: Add Nutrients to the Soil

Weisweaver orders little tea bags filled with dehydrated cow manure known as “Moo Poo Tea” from the Internet. He places the bag in a five-gallon bucket of water to create a nutrient-rich liquid he pours on his plants. He admits that products like Miracle-Gro will also add these nutrients, but he likes that his tea is more natural.

Wesiweaver’s final reminder is to be cautious when buying plants at a big box store. The information cards that tell you how often to water the plant are generic for the entire country. During the summer, it may be necessary in Florida to water more often. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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