Though gardens bloom in the heart of spring, tending to your garden in the summer is even more important. With the season’s sun at its peak, you have to make sure that your garden is as lush and refreshing even in the summer heat. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most out of your garden during the hottest time of the year:
- Compose your compost. While fall produces the most material for compost, summer would be the perfect time to start collecting. From spent plants and dead grass from the winter, to daily organic household waste like vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and used paper and tea bags, as well as the sheer accumulation of vacuum cleaner dust from spring cleaning, compost should be made up of a crafty and convenient combination of items. Gather it all up in a compost bin, or even sturdy garbage bags(I prefer the ones made from recycled plastic and have a built-in antimicrobial agent). And since truly rich compost and mulch take a bit of time to make, getting a late spring/early summer head start actually gets things good and ready by the next spring garden season.
- Spruce it up in spring. Feed your lawn and garden in the spring with existing compost, with a little bit of sand mixed in. This will help keep them healthy and get them vividly verdant in the summer. A good coat of compost or mulch would be great in conserving soil moisture and protecting the roots during a dry, hot season, while providing nutrients at the same time. Just remember to water the beds first, then finally add the compost or mulch to seal the moisture in.
- Prepare for pests. The ‘summer pest-ival’, as my mom likes to call it, can start anytime during the summer, especially with plants growing larger. Prevent damage and a possible infestation of harmful garden critters by spraying organic products such as pyola or neem oil on the leaves. It’s also a good idea to have natural garden pest repellents such as ladybugs around.
- Don’t forget to deadhead. Deadheading, or the removal of spent or dead flowers and leaves, is a good way of not only maintaining the overall appearance of your garden, but also encourages the plants to flower more. You can toss in the pruned portions into your compost, giving new use to old stuff.
- Keep the grounds in check. More than just watering the plants, you need to make sure that the soil has proper moisture. You can’t let it get too dry, nor should you over-saturate it with water. I like going around the yard with a straight-blade screwdriver and poke the soil in each area once in a while to check for the moisture level. The tougher the soil, the drier it is. Having runny, muddy soil isn’t a good thing either, so make sure to water moderately. Also, mulch may have a tendency to crust up if you aren’t careful, and this would actually keep the water from soaking into the soil. Regularly break up the mulch around your garden to make sure the soil gets its healthy dose of water to fight the summer heat.
George is an advertising consultant who works with several online businesses such as PlasticPlace.com, a wholesaler of trash bags, can liners and contractor bags. He also has a bit of experience in farming and plant propagation.