8 Summer Gardening Tips

June 18, 2020

Summer can be quite a doozy on gardens if they haven’t been properly tended to. A persistent sun, the growth of weeds, and the return of pests can all be fatal to a beautiful garden if you are not careful. Here are some summer gardening tips to prep your garden for summer and keep it looking great:

1. Make Sure Your Garden is Prepped

One of the biggest summer gardening tips is to make sure your garden is prepped and ready for your plants to beat the heat and continue to grow. A lot of the prep happens in early spring, but you may need to revisit your yard to make sure everything is where it should be. Here are a few areas to revisit, check, and potentially redo:

Clean Up Beds and Borders

Check in on your flower beds and borders to make sure they have survived any spring storms. Clean up flower beds and borders as needed. Clear any debris that may have accumulated through the spring.

You want to make sure sunlight can reach down to the roots of your plant and that no debris is blocking them. Too much debris can prevent your plants from getting what they need, hide pests, and can also contribute to rot.

Fertilize Your Yard

Fertilizing your yard in early spring with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer when it first begins to show signs of life again helps prep your garden for spring and summer. If your soil is a light brown as summer rolls in, it’s likely lacking nutrients and is in need of more enrichment. Re-fertilizing and refreshing mulch as needed are a few of the spring gardening tips that are still useful in summer.

Check Seedlings and Re-Plant as Needed

Plants that take longer to grow can generally safely be planted in April and May. If the winter has been especially harsh, they may need a heated propagator or to be grown in a greenhouse if you have one. Late spring and early summer are great times to check on your seedlings and re-plant seeds or transfer plants as needed.

If you are unsure, most seed packets have information and links to websites with more detailed guidelines on how to plant them and in which environments they can be sustained. Following these instructions and some spring planting tips will help you set your garden up for success through the summer.

Get Rid of Pests

These critters will have hibernated in the crowns of perennials, under the soil, in compost, shrubs, bushes, fruit trees, and any number of other places and likely started coming out in spring. Snails, slugs, aphids, and larvae are just a couple of the common pests that you may have found.

Even with pest control in the spring, you may find your battle continues in the summer. You can remove the larger insects by hand or a water hose. But, if they are particularly rampant, you may need to resort to more drastic measures and use parasitic nematodes or chemical drenches.

If you come across any insects that are unrecognizable, be careful and do your research first to determine if they are harmful to your garden, or to you. You can also make a homemade bug spray.

Homemade Bug Spray

Creating a homemade, all-natural bug spray is a lot easier than you would think and can help keep your plants safe without hurting the environment. Some pest sprays can be incredibly harmful to plant and animal life in your yard. To avoid poisoning the flora and fauna around you, here is a quick recipe you can use to make your own safe pest spray:

You Will Need:
  • 3 Heads of Garlic, Peeled and Separated
  • 4 Cups of Mint Leaves
  • 3 Teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 to 5 Squirts of Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
How to Make it:

Mince the garlic and mint and add to a pot of water (about 12 cups). Add cayenne and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn down the heat and let it sit overnight. The next day, strain and discard the plant material and then place the liquid in spray bottles. Add Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap.

How to Use it:

Shake well before spraying and spray the underside of leaves. Use sparingly and add more to get the desired effects.

Fix Fences and Borders

Although you may have fixed fences and borders in the spring, they may need some touchups or small repairs come summer, especially if there have been some strong spring storms. Give all fences and borders another look and fix any issues you find so your plants can continue to be protected as they grow.

2. Add or Check Rain Barrels

Rain barrels are about 50-gallon drums that trap rainwater from your rain spout. There is a mesh top to help sift debris out of the water and a tap at the bottom. While you can have a filtration system put in place, these rain barrels are a perfect way to save water and use it for watering your plants.

If you have a large garden you may want to consider a rain barrel to cut down on costs. They are usually about $50 and pay for themselves by the end of one growing season. These barrels can be lifesavers in a drought and can help keep your yard from flooding. This is a great time to check on any rain barrels you have or to add a few if you don’t have any yet.

3. Use Coffee Filters in Your Container Gardens

Container gardens can be useful for starting plants or keeping small plants indoors. If you have a container garden, you may want to put coffee filters in before dirt. This will keep the dirt from falling out and will help drain your plants so their feet stay dry and they stay happy.

If you started from a seed, then you may want to keep them in a coffee filter for a little longer before planting. This way, their roots will have room to grow and the coffee filters will stay wet. Once they are big enough, you can re-plant them as needed.

4. Weed and Prune Your Garden Once a Week

Weeds grow very quickly from tiny seedlings to gigantic monsters almost overnight. Not only do these unsightly and unwelcome plants give your garden a messy appearance, but they also use up space and nutrients that your other plants will need.

Fortunately, removing them is relatively easy. Simply pull them out by hand or dig them out with a hoe. While weeding, it’s also a great time to check your plants and pinch or clip off any dead blooms from annuals and perennials to keep them healthy and encourage re-blooming.

5. Feed Heavy Feeders Once a Month

Roses are beautiful plants that can produce some truly impressive blooms, but they also use up a lot of soil nutrients. Feeding roses and other heavy feeders once a month can keep them looking great. A regular application of liquid fertilizer will work for most gardens, but those with larger gardens will want to add some compost as well.

6. Harvest Your Vegetables Regularly

Vegetable gardens can be a great way to grow your own food, But, few people realize how quickly vegetables can grow. It’s important to harvest your vegetables regularly. Zucchini and summer squash grow quickly enough that they may need to be harvested once a day.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, and other fruit should be monitored closely since they can damage their plants if they are left on the vine too long. Harvest corn just as the silk at the ends of the ears are starting to turn brown. Generally speaking, if you are growing vegetables or fruit of any kind, you should be checking them daily.

7. Monitor Water and Drainage

Another one of the useful summer gardening tips is to monitor water and drainage. Keeping track of how much water your garden is getting is important since too much water can be just as bad as not enough water. You want to make sure your plants are getting enough water while also ensuring water is not pooling unnecessarily and drowning them.

In general, it’s better to give plenty of water twice a week than it is to use less water more frequently. It’s also usually most efficient to water in the morning. Watering during the hottest part of the day often means the soil soaks it up faster and leaves less for the plants and watering at night can promote fungus growth.

8. Find a Way to Create Shade

Even plants that thrive in full sunlight can get fried if they are overexposed. If there is a part of your garden that gets too much strong sunlight, find a way to add some shade for some portion of the day.

An arbor or a gazebo are some bigger items you can add to your landscaping to provide some shade. You can also use a small tree, a cluster of bamboo, or some other compatible shrub that won’t take nutrients from your plants or block them too much while providing some relief.

These are just a few summer gardening tips that should help you keep a healthy, tidy, and attractive garden this summer. If your current landscaping and house are leaving you wishing for something else, it may be time to consider a custom home. If you’re ready to bring your dream home to life, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090!