With temperatures rising and days getting longer, gardeners are returning to their yards to get to work. If your thumb is far from green, but you have planted a garden this year, there are a few things that you can do to ensure it thrives. Check out this Ultimate Guide to Your Summer Garden:
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO YOUR SUMMER GARDEN
Just as people need to remain hydrated throughout those hot summer days, so do your plants. Water your gardens in the early morning to avoid moisture loss through evaporation, the scorching of delicate leaves, and discourage mildew from growing. Remember, plants in containers will need more frequent watering than those in garden plots. And, if your community is like mine, we have a restricted watering schedule in the summer. So, I always set an alarm on my phone for the days I’m allowed to water and make sure to get out there and check my yard and gardens! If I miss that day, they would then be without water for another 48 hours!!
Have a Watering Back up
Rain barrels make for a fantastic and cheap way to hydrate your lawn. Using your household water can end up becoming costly, but rainwater is free. In fact, rainwater will be far more beneficial to your plants than the water from your hose. Hmmm, you might be wondering now though about keeping a barrel of water in your backyard and attracting mosquitoes with it. Well, there are a number of ways to keep those nasty pests at bay, most of them quite simple and inexpensive. These include dish soap (chosen wisely, this is still a safe option for the plants you water later), fine mesh, and goldfish among others. Read more about your options and which would work best for your yard here.
Keep Weeds in Check
Weeds are terrible for your garden. They steal the moisture and nutrients that your plants need to thrive, and they encourage disease and insects to breed within your garden. Making sure to catch the weeds while they are still new makes it easier to keep them out and will prevent them from doing too much damage. Getting to the weeds early will also prevent them from seeding in other places around your garden. I like to weed first thing in the morning while the dew is still on the grass. This means the ground is a little damp and the weeds are easier for me to remove. Checking your gardens on a daily basis and plucking up the new weeds as soon as you see them will make this job so much simpler! Should I admit now though that I actually love the sight of dandelions?
Remove Dead Flowers
Dead flowers can provide an environment perfect for creating fungi and unwanted pests. Not only all that, but they’re ugly. Remove any flowers (also known as deadheading in gardening circles – see? I’m learning the lingo!) that are wilting to ensure that the plant can use its energy to produce new flowers instead of trying to revive the dead ones.
Don’t Mow too Low
It may be tempting to drop your lawnmower to a lower level to avoid having to mow the lawn as frequently, but that is a bad idea. Cutting a lawn too low can lead to bare patches and brown spots on your grass. Keep grass at 3 inches to provide the proper shade to the soil and reduce the chance of the water evaporating, leaving the lawn dry and brittle. And don’t worry. As the season goes on, grass grows more slowly and you won’t have to mow as often anyway.
Don’t Clean Lawn Clippings
People usually like to pick up the freshly cut grass all over the lawn, but leaving the clippings to stay where they fall can help to act as a form of mulch. This can help to protect the soil from the harsh sun rays and retain moisture. Disclaimer – We do rake up our clippings after the first lawn cutting of the season. You see, the backyard here is a bit of a swamp in the spring. Melting snow quickly creates a lake in the back. Before that has the chance to thoroughly dry out, spring rains come along and keep that swamp going. So, once the grass starts growing again, it seems like it just suddenly shoots up overnight like Jack’s beanstalk. That is just too many clippings to leave on the lawn and since it’s usually still a bit damp, all it will do is cover the grass so well that it smothers it.
Keeping your garden and lawn beautiful over the summer months doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. With a few easy steps you can ensure that your outdoor space is well taken care of, looks gorgeous and is as healthy as ever. My mantra is, a little bit every day. This keeps my yard manageable and enjoyable instead of a chore.