Summer gardening is always a bit less fun for me than spring gardening! The weather is hotter, the weeds are taking over and the bugs are hungry. However, if I am going to manage to get any harvest at all this summer I need to stay ahead of the game. I thought I would share a few of my summer gardening tips to help you maximize your harvest this year. Check out my post on essential gardening supplies and get outside!
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Chores for Your Summer Garden Checklist
There are always a ton of summer gardening chores to be done but some are easily forgotten when you get busy. Here are a few important things to add to your summer garden checklist this week:
- Remove spent blooms on annuals and perennials. This is called deadheading and will help your plants make a few more flowers before the season is over.
- Harvest crops regularly. Make sure you pick your produce daily as needed. Over ripe produce attracts bugs and encourages disease. Harvesting regularly will also encourage your plants to produce more food.
- Add more color to your yard. If your summer flowers are dying, consider adding in a few more fresh ones. The color will attract pollinators which will boost your harvest.
- Start planning your fall garden. Before long, it will be time to start planting a fall garden! Many food plants like broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, etc love the cooler weather of fall. Check out my fall gardening tips for ideas on how to plan ahead.
- Don’t forget to fertilize again. Growing fruits and veggies requires a ton of nutrients. Make sure to use organic plant food regularly.
- Work hard to attract pollinators. Without them, you will have very little food. Check out my posts about how to make a mason bee house or a honeybee watering station. Skip the pesticides as well.
Summer Gardening Tips
Here in Georgia, the summers are pretty harsh and a garden can keel over and die very quickly without a fair amount of attention. If you planted a garden this spring, here are a few things you should be focusing on in June and July.
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I find that a summer garden needs a deep watering about every 3 days here in the south. If you live in a cooler climate, you may be able to get away with once a week. Water in the morning so your plants can soak it all up before the sun starts to evaporate it all. Make sure you are watering the roots of the plant and not the leaves. Try to avoid watering the garden at night to avoid disease caused by plants that stay wet all night.
Mulch, mulch, and more mulch!
One of the most important summer gardening tips I can give you is to add mulch to your plants. Adding mulch around your plants will help keep weeds down and retain moisture that would otherwise be lost to the sun. Choose a natural mulch like wood chips around food plants. You should not use rubber mulch on plants that you will be eating.
Pull weeds regularly
This is a chore that I hate but a vital part of summer gardening. Weeds use up vital water and nutrients that your plants need. Use a pair of sturdy gardening gloves to protect your hands from prickly weeds and biting insects.
Check out my posts about weed control!
- Best Natural Weed Control and a New Way to Look at Weeds!
- Is it a bird? A plane? No, its..Superweeds!
- Nature Abhors a Monoculture (AKA the %$#! weeds are taking over my grass!)
Beware of pests
Here in the south, the bugs are hungry! I spend hours every week plucking them off my plants. I have nightmares about tomato hornworm caterpillars and my husband picks on me for my late night treks into the garden with the salt shaker to kill slugs. It is an ongoing battle and one I am losing yet again this year. Here are just a couple of the visitors to my garden this week
Here is my lovely friend slug. He decided he really wanted a taste of my tarragon this week. Isn’t he cute? Yeah, well, little slug likes to chew up my plants, leaving them full of holes so he was quickly and forcefully removed from my plant. Sorry to all you bug loving PETA people…
Here is my arch nemesis the squash beetle. For years I have tried gardening organically with absolutely zero sprays or additives on my plants. That has resulted in approximately 5 squash over the last 4 years. This year, I invested in an organic approved neem oil pesticide and BT Biological Insecticide. I have used each one once and these buggers are STILL attacking my squash. They come out about 8 PM and I visit my plants every day at that time to squish them angrily. They may LOOK like lady bugs but trust me, they are NOT!
Other Summer Gardening Tips You Might Need:
- 10 Summer Garden Projects You Need to do NOW!
- How to Keep Snails out of the Garden
- How to Attract Beneficial Insects to Your Garden
Watch for Plant Diseases
Sometimes you will see black spots on your tomato leaves or all of a sudden your plant’s leaves will begin falling off. Yellowing leaves can sometimes mean too much water but may have other meanings as well. I have one cherry tomato plant that is turning yellow from the ground up and I think my friend the chipmunk has chewed up his roots. I keep watering and pruning in hopes of saving him but he may be a goner anyhow.
One of my most important summer gardening tips to share is that if you have a disease in your garden, treat it early! Take a leaf specimen to your local nursery for help identifying it and then grab the appropriate treatment. I try to stick to organic methods when I can but some diseases and pests are harder to kill than others!
Some of the more common midsummer problems (both diseases and pests) to watch for include:
- Black spot
- Cucumber beetles
- Japanese beetles
- Powdery mildew
- Squash bugs
- Tomato horn worms
Gardening can be a lot of fun, good exercise and a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It can also be dirty, sweaty, back breaking work that is extremely frustrating! But, I think I am a bit of a garden addict since I go back to it every single year!
Summer gardening is a lot of work but once July and August roll around, your harvest will be plentiful and there is nothing quite like the feeling of feeding your family from your own back yard!
Have any more summer gardening tips to share?
(note: post updated and content added from previously published date)
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.