Summer means swimming, grilling, hiking, and (of course) gardening! With the passing of the Summer Solstice, the days are getting longer and your plants are getting bigger. Growing conditions change in your soil throughout the season, but there’s an easy checklist you can go through to keep your garden in great shape all summer long.
The endless cycle. Pick a weed, and it grows right back. You water your garden at the end of the day, and wake up to new patches of dandelion and thistle where there used to be fresh soil. It’s one of the most tedious gardening tasks and is far from anyone’s idea of summer fun. All that said, it’s an incredibly important part of maintaining your garden beds, and prevents weeds from taking over.
We have a few tips on tackling this chore: Try to weed after it rains, or after a deep watering. Pull out weeds frequently so they don’t have the chance to get big. Use tools like a trowel, hori-hori, screwdriver, or shovel to help get rid of any stubborn roots.
There are no magic solutions in gardening, but mulch comes pretty close! Tamping down weeds, retaining moisture during droughts, adding organic material to your soil, what’s not to love? If you mulched early on in the Spring, there’s a good chance that you might need a refresh to keep up with summer growth. Check for any bare spots in your garden, or places where weeds seem to be popping up, and fill in mulch around those areas. For heavy feeding plants, you can incorporate a thin layer of granular fertilizer under the mulch to ensure that it’s readily available when your plants need it.
Deadhead and Prune
Deadheading and Pruning are slightly different, but serve very similar functions in your garden. Cutting back dead or excess growth is important for not only shaping your foliage, but also for maintaining healthy plants. Deadheading involves clearing out dead plant growth to make room for new development. Pruning involves cutting back live plant growth to redirect energy to different parts of the plant, supporting produce development and improving airflow to prevent mold and diseases. Cutting dead Spring growth, and trimming back early summer growth, helps to clear up your garden space, promote healthier plants, and can even allow your garden to grow more beautifully.
With the warmest part of the season on the way, your plants are starting to produce blossoms and get into the fun part of the season. With armfuls of fresh produce on the way, your plants will need lots of nutrients to support bright and delicious veggies; it’s time to feed the garden! There are so many options for giving your garden a little nudge at this point in the season. Activated Compost adds a broad spectrum of nutrients and biology, along with rich organic matter to help with nutrient and moisture retention. All-Purpose Fertilizer is the perfect choice for slow-release nutrients to support your heavy-feeding plants all season long. If you’re looking for a quick dose of nutrients and biology to increase your plant vigor and nutrient uptake, try our liquid nutrient program, Purple Cow CX-1 and BioActive Supercharger. With so many amendments available, it’s easy to find the best one for you!
Building up a set watering plan is critical as we move into the hotter parts of the season. With weeks-long dry spells ahead, plants can start to struggle if not supplemented with additional water. Try watering your plants in the early morning, when water can more easily soak into the soil before it evaporates. Check watering requirements for your garden before drenching it! Peppers and lavender love dry and hot conditions, and appreciate being watered more sparingly. Tomatoes need a LOT of water, and tend to suffer if they get too dry before a big watering. If you’ve ever had your tomatoes split after a big rain, that’s the reason why! A good watering plan is key for growing healthy produce.
The lull between planting and harvesting can become a dull cycle of weeding, pruning, and watering. Not to mention when a crop like garlic is finished, you’re left with a massive patch of open garden space. Keep the harvest going throughout the season by planting quick-developing produce like beans, peas, swiss chard, basil, and spinach. You can also set up your garden beds for succession planting! Plant one row of lettuce, carrots, kale, or radishes, and the plant a second row 2 weeks later, providing you with a constant stream of produce throughout the summer. Check your local garden centers for mid-summer sales on annual flowers to brighten your garden space.
As we move through the warmer summer season, your garden is exploding with colors and flavors; it’s time to harvest! When you’re collecting your hard-earned rewards for the season be sure to check for overripe produce, pests, and any damaged produce that’s still growing. Overripe produce can attract pests and diseases, which spread quickly among your developing fruits and veggies, make sure you clean out your garden completely. If cutting produce of a main plant (rosemary, thyme, lettuce, squash, etc.) be sure to use a clean sharp knife to prevent pathogen spread and ensure that your produce and your plant stay fresh. Be sure to check your garden everyday so you don’t miss any of your harvest.
Get Ready for Fall
Wait…Fall? But we just talked about harvesting! It’s only July, but you can get your garden ready for fall and have a bountiful selection of goodies ready for your favorite holiday treats. Fast-maturing potatoes are a perfect set up for fall, and you have time to get them planted! These seed potatoes can help you get stocked up in time for Thanksgiving. Though we’re a bit late in the season for jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins for pie, there’s plenty of time to start decorative squash that you can use to cover every inch of your home in holiday cheer. Mums are a classic staple of porch containers and flowerpots to welcome in the fall season, and make an excellent fall arrangement with pansies, alyssum, zinnia, and cosmos. Get your flowers ready with a porch pot full of IndiCanja! This heavy feeder mix is perfect for brighter blooms and lasting growth.
With all the amazing summer activities, it’s easy to set the garden aside and soak in a little extra sunshine by the pool. But don’t forget to give your garden the love it needs to make it through the season! Check off your list of summer care, and grow a happier garden.