Preparing for a hot dry summer

For ourselves, our homes and our gardens – conversation at One Planet Market 21 December 2019

After our recent temperature spike of 4 days over 40 degrees, it was timely that this month’s workshop was a round table talk about looking after ourselves, our homes and gardens in hot weather.  There are many simple ideas that we can all implement.

  • Cooling off by wetting your arms (cools down the blood) or your whole body under the shower or in a bath, and wearing something loose without drying off.

  • Attaching sheets of corflute to the outside of glass windows to stop heat entering the home (only $3/sheet second hand from Paramount Browns on Main North Road), or old election posters corflutes for smaller windows.

  • Attaching bubble wrap to the inside of windows to insulate them from heat, after making sure no sun hits the glass with its radiant energy.

  • Growing trees and understorey plants around your home to lower outside temperature.

  • Hanging shade wherever possible, draped over trees, shading vulnerable parts of the home.  When you put up shadecloth make sure its open for ventilation either through a high part or on at least 3 sides so heat can escape. A chimney effect is needed.

  • Shading vulnerable garden plants with white or pale 50% shadecloth. Simple shadecloth protection for individual plants can be made with plastic pipe and stakes to support cloth (see photo). 

  • Keeping chooks cool with Lo-flo sprinklers or mud baths under shade

  • Keeping worms cool with solid shading above, then covering worm farms with wet hessian sacks, or wet blanket of some material. Some people also use blocks of ice or bottles of ice with holes punched in for slow release. Fill a tray or two with horse manure as it keeps its structure, holding air and water in. This provides insulation and food for the worms. 

  • Garden watering can be done through large special terra cotta pots buried in the earth near fruit trees for slow release of water or plastic plant pots filled with torn up newspapers, compost and with mulch on top, then water into that.

Ways to keep cool include

  • using libraries, cafes, pubs and other public places. One library remained open for extended hours to provide a cool public space. Mount Barker cinema opened a theatre as a place people could go to keep cool, without having to pay to go to a movie.
  • inviting friends and neighbours to join us so we share the value of air conditioning.

There is more hot weather coming so plan what you can do to keep cool and safe.

Shade cloth on a frame protecting a large area of garden

Shade cloth on a frame protecting a large area of garden

Shade cloth protecting an individual plant
Shade cloth protecting an individual plant

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