Summer is here…does your garden have its ‘beach body’ yet?
by Brande Jackson
The summer solstice has come, the days are noticeably longer, and stores have long been selling July 4th decorations…that can only mean one thing: summer is here! What does that mean for you and your garden? We’ve got a few tips on how to get you garden into 'summer shape'.
1. Take advantage of that June gloom! Those June mornings are PERFECT for getting your garden game on. Use that weather to prune, plant and get the heavy work done. Yes, you’ll feel better not laboring under a blazing sun, but what really matters is that you won’t be stressing out your plants, either. Get prepared early in the season, before the weather warms up.
2. Toughen up that garden! Prune before the hottest days of summer hit, and try to plant as early in the season as you can, too (though you can certainly plant year round). Pull the weeds, throw down a layer of mulch (we like shredded bark the best), and start to do what is known as “deep watering”; basically, soak your garden on a more infrequent basis. This will help it acclimate to hotter and dyer conditions. It doesn’t mean you won’t have to water in the heat of summer - you will - but deep watering encourages deeper root growth and ensures that water penetrates the top layer of soil, which is what you want.
3. Release the bugs! We like to release ladybugs into the garden around this time of year, as they help with aphids and other pests that begin to proliferate in summer months. While you are at it, be sure to keep an eye out for mosquitos – they were bad last year! There are organic options for treating them, some geraniums you can plant that act as natural repellants, and be sure to treat any water features you have in your garden as a precaution, too.
4. Throw some shade! Provide some temporary shade to the hottest parts of your garden during the summer. Even plants that are meant for full sun can get damaged when it’s really crazy hot. Pick up some market umbrellas and stagger them around your yard, or find some cool looking tapestries and tie them up as temporary shade cloth. You don’t need to construct anything permanent nor does it need to be expensive, but temporarily shading parts of your garden during the hottest days of the year can go a long way towards keeping your plants healthy and happy. To figure out where your garden could use a ‘shade break’, look for plants that are wilting or looking kinda crispy when it’s hot, even after a good watering - those are the ones that probably need it.
5. Get planting! There are all sorts of plants that thrive in the summer months. Salvias, sunflowers, succulents….and those are just the ‘S’ plants! Veggies to plant this time of year include squash, corn, eggplant, tomatoes, swiss chard, pumpkin, most melons, and cucumbers. Get growing!
Late spring and summer is a fine time for getting outside and playing in your garden. Just take a few steps to get prepared, and you can enjoy your yard all season long!