Summer Gardening Tips for a Bountiful Harvest

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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Summer Gardening Tips Collage 2

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 your next crop!  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.

garden zucchini

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.

Water regularly

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.

person weeding the garden

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!

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

Summer Gardening Tips

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…

Summer Gardening Tips for Squash

 

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:

 

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
  • Grasshoppers
  • Japanese beetles
  • Powdery mildew
  • Rust
  • Squash bugs
  • Tomato horn worms

Summer Gardening tips for tomatoes

 

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)


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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!

Comments

  1. Great tips! I'm with you on the squash beetle. They decimated my squash harvest last year. I didn't have any squash beetles the year before, though, so fingers crossed that they won't be back this year. And I'm glad that I'm not the only one who prefers spring gardening to summer gardening! In the spring, everything just seems to take care of itself.
  2. Great tips! I am terrible at pulling weeds but you give super tips! Thanks!!
  3. I am so jealous of your nice weather. We just got our first flower on the tomato plants!
  4. Great post! Get those squash beetles!! Nothing worse than pests eating away your hard work!
  5. These are great tips! I am a horrible gardener because I don't like to pull the weeds - it's just TOO HOT for that! ;)
  6. Great tips and it all looks so good! I wish I was good at gardening.
  7. We built a big garden this year. I had a lot of old seed (3+ year old) and so planted 2x as much as I would ever need. Some of the items took off. My kids have a habbit of stepping on plants, so I think I will still end up with a good number. Tomatoes are the hardest for me to get right. Black bottom rot sets in when they don't get enough nutrients and tomato blight is always a worry too. So important to have a good gardening book so you can keep up on what symptoms to look for.
  8. HilLesha says:
    Since I live in an apartment, I haven't been able to garden for over two years now. I certainly miss it! Hopefully, when I get new place this summer or fall (in the midst of house hunting), I can get back into doing one of my favorite spring/summertime hobbies. :)
  9. I have a disease in my garden!! Ack! And bugs. But your plants are still looking better than mine :-) Thank goodness for the good weather!
  10. Those beetles are tricky trying to look like harmless ladybugs! All I have going at the moment is basil!
  11. I totally hate weeding. I actually have a black thumb, but I am giving it another go this year and have some lettuce and strawberries growing. Thanks for the tips!
  12. Great pictures! I cant get anything to stay alive. If I do - the squirrels eat it LOL
  13. Fantastic tips! We wanted to do a vegetable garden, but we're moving, so we only did flowers (as we normally do). Our garden and lawn is green and lush - love it! Hate to leave it all :(
    • sad to leave things once we get them just the way we like them. Ihave some edible flowers growing out back. They are yummy on salads!
  14. I lived on 7 acres in MD before moving to FL, and my neighbor there offered to plow a plot for my garden. I told him I wanted it big, and then discovered how much work it was. Now I buy from the Farmer's Market. I want to support it, but it's too much work for me!
    • it is a ton of work! I consider it a hobby more so than a way to feed my family. If it were up to me we would all starve!
  15. Mommy Has A Life says:
    These are great tips! I can't wait to buy a house in Florida so we can finally have a garden again :-)
  16. Rebekah {McMama} says:
    We're still working on getting moved into our new house, so I haven't been able to get the garden started yet. I'm hoping to get some late summer and fall plants growing soon, though. It will be a more limited garden, but I can still have a little bit of a harvest!
  17. Ericka Chatman says:
    Great tips! Now I'm ready to buy a house so I can get out and garden.
  18. I really need to add some mulch to my raised beds. The weeds are awful except in the ones that do have mulch. Great tips!
  19. Who knew I'd find a slug photo to be cute?!
  20. This is why I cannot do a garden, I like bugs too much!
    • I like some of them. I have been known to sacrifice ONE tomato plant and put all the tomato hornworm caterpillars on it. But, the squash bugs are EVIL!
  21. The biggest threat to our veggies every year are all of the birds that nest in the trees behind our house.
  22. I don't know if it's the extreme heat here or my general lack of a green thumb but I've never been able to get anything to grow. I'm jealous of your garden- bugs and all!

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