How to Take Care of Your Homestead During a Heatwave

    Living in Ireland can feel both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it's easier to work because there are no extreme temperatures. On the other hand, tending to your garden throughout the whole year only to be greeted by strong winds combined with drizzle during the summer months is not why we do it. That being said, while summers bring forth the beauty of flourishing gardens and extra long days (the best thing about living in the north) with out-of-this-world sunsets, they can also bring intense heatwaves that can be quite a challenge.

    Even those small tasks like sowing seeds in the back garden can feel impossible when it’s really hot outside. But when the mercury rises, it’s important to keep both yourself and your homestead in top shape. Here are some practical tips to keep everything thriving during a heatwave.

Stay Cool

    As someone whose ruling element is Water, I find it odd that some people don't crave water at all, but here we are. It sounds simple and obvious, but you must prioritise keeping you and your family hydrated. Have plenty of ice, slices of lemon and cucumber for more flavour (extra points if you grew them yourself). Homemade mint lemonade and elderflower syrup are my favourite refreshments.

    If you have pets or livestock, they’ll need extra water, too. Ideally, it’s best to check their water supplies frequently and make sure they have access to shade. A lot of owners freeze large 2-litre bottles of water, open the cap, and put it into the livestock water - it’s a great way to keep it cool during those super hot days.

    Speaking of staying cool, one thing you really need to do when it comes to surviving a heatwave is installing an air conditioner, ideally an HVAC system, if you don’t have one already. It can make a world of difference, turning your home into a refreshing retreat from the oppressive heat. You have to understand that homesteading isn’t about taking yourself back in time; it’s about living in a simpler time and having AC in a heatwave will make life a whole lot simpler.

Protect Your Plants

    Your plants can suffer as much as you do in extreme heat. So, think of it this way: you put a lot of time and hard work into your crops, but only for everything to wilt away due to the heat. Sometimes I struggle with accepting this, but we live on a planet where you need to make consistent effort to get good results (in any area of life) and knowing that everything can be shattered in the blink of an eye can feel unfair. In this case, a few hot days can completely ruin all your effort if you don't take proper action. To keep your garden flourishing, water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s cooler. This reduces evaporation and allows the plants to absorb more water. Mulching is another great tip. A good layer of mulch helps retain moisture in the soil and keeps the roots cooler.

    If you have delicate plants, consider creating some shade for them. You can use shade cloths or even repurpose old bed sheets to provide a little respite from the scorching sun. Remember, happy plants are hydrated plants.


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