gardening without watering in a heatwave
To garden when it's very hot, I suggest you (dear reader) do it early in the morning or early in the evening. It’s usually cool-ish at those times, and you don’t have to bother with sunscreen or hat which is very liberating.
Dig over the compost, which is usually damp if watered with saved kitchen and shower water. Take quantities of half rotted damp compost and spread it on the soil between plants. This will stop the soil being exposed to the hot sun, and encourage worms and helpful micro organisms to party in the shade below the mulch.
Sometimes plants are drooping and miserable. There’s no need to water them. Just trim them back. They usually respond by sitting up straight again. Sometimes they don’t. Then it’s the old story of life, death and compost in the garden.
Lots of plants adore the heat – they’re the ones you want. For example, tiny teeny parsley plants got established and mulched before the heatwave. Now every hot day they’re getting bigger and stronger. I have had great success with Australian native shrubs like alyogyne huegelii (Australian native hibiscus), thryptomenes, correas and many others. Actually just about all the plants you see in my garden are tough survivors – the others are only seen as temporary empty spaces – blurred shadows that have become partly decomposed mulch.
So water the compost and water the bird baths. But never water plants, unless newly planted or transplanted. If you do water them, you’ll find they’ll grow OK but they will forever be dependent on a human to cater to their water needs.