As spring blooms make way for summer sun, your garden needs some help to survive the hotter temps. Hopefully, you’ve done most of the heavy lifting to prepare for the growing season in the spring. It’s not time to sip lemonade in the hammock just yet. It's time to prepare your garden for the summer heat.
Now that your spring bulbs have bloomed, it’s time to get rid of the dead foliage. Removing it will improve airflow and growth for your still-growing plants and flowers. Get rid of any yellow leaves on your plants to prevent infection from spreading. Green leaves should stay put on your plant or flower.
Plan for Weeds
Weeds grow like crazy in the summer, but you can make it tough for the invaders to take root. Use mulch or weed mats to keep moisture in and weeds out. Mulch comes in a lot of different forms: wood chips, bark, dead leaves, grass clippings, and more. Biodegradable weed mats serve the same purpose. Note: Spring is the best time to add mulch to make the most of the wet weather.
Start weeding early to get and keep the upper hand. You’ll save yourself a lot of extra work if you can get to weeds before they go to seed. Regular weeding throughout the summer will help you stay ahead of these pesky plants.
Prepare the Soil
You need to prepare your soil so plant roots can take hold and spread quickly. Tilling will help break up the clumps (be sure to check for utility lines before you start). You may have to add fertilizer for a healthy garden because the soil in Franklin County doesn't always have the necessary nutrients. You can send a small sample to the extension office at The Ohio State University for testing. They'll give you the results and advice on what kind and how much fertilizer you need to add.
Certain types of vegetables thrive when you plant them in the warmer months. Beans, celery, corn, peppers, squash, and zucchini all love the warm soil and longer daylight hours.
Watering well refers to when and how much you water. Just like watering your lawn, your garden will need extra moisture to survive the heat. But giving your lawn and garden a few long drinks is better than several short gulps. This enables the plants (and yes, grass is a plant,) to develop strong, deep roots. Water flower beds twice a week with a good amount of water. The time of day when you water is just as important as how much. Early morning is best because your plants will have time to absorb the moisture before it evaporates. It also helps your garden withstand the heat of the day. Avoid watering in the evenings, or at least make sure the leaves have time to dry before it gets dark. Damp leaves at night encourage fungal growth.
While you don’t need to go overboard with expensive gardening tools, here are a few basics to consider:
? Gardening gloves.
? Pruning shears.
? Garden fork, trowel, spade.
? Garden hose with nozzle.
? Watering can.
With these strategies, your garden will be ready to take the heat and thrive all summer long. Best of all, you’ll have earned the rest and relaxation a beautiful garden can provide.
Olive Dawson is a gardening and landscape design writer and environmentalist. She is always searching for new ways to reduce waste and grow food organically. She is most proud of her native flower and vegetable garden.