I have a lot of pots with peppers in them this year, my climate is very hot and peppers already have trouble in the ground with the heat in mid summer months. For a medium, I am using 5-1-1 with 5 parts Redwood compost, it is very dark, nearly black and gets extremely hot. Last week a couple days hit low 90s and the wood seems to have scalded the base of some of the smaller peppers, even though they have been outside for weeks.
I want to, when the weather heats up, mulch my pots with whatever will provide the maximum protection from heat and still allow the medium to breath. Something white or light colored and also light-weight that will allow air movement but also help the pots not to dry out, which can be a big problem.
Would coarse perlite or turface work as a mulch layer? Being white, it would help with heat, but it holds a lot of moisture and I don't want to steam my plants. On the other hand maybe it could actually help the plants stay watered in arid heat? Has anyone experimented with this?
Thanks so much!