Summer Garden Maintenance Tips

Now that the warm months are here, it is time to prep your garden for the extreme weather conditions. It is essential to note that not all types of crops work for warm temperatures and growing techniques need to be altered as well. Read this useful guide on summer garden maintenance tips to learn about some specific techniques in order to optimize the process.

If you continue planting your crops the same way you did in the spring or winter, your crops will not grow to optimal capacity and will dry out quicker than you can imagine.

Hence, conducting research and understanding the weather according to the needs of your crops is important for a successful summer garden.

summer garden maintenance tips
house with plants all around

Summer Garden Checklist

Summer months can be exciting for gardening certain plants such as tomatoes and dahlias, which are made for the warm season.

However, as the months become warmer, scorching rays, water scarcity, and unwanted pests become an added burden on your gardening plans.

From each target area and ways to mitigate each issue mentioned, we have listed a number of summer garden maintenance tips for you to follow:

Mulch

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over your garden bed during the summer season. The mulch acts as a protective layer for the soil against the sun and shields it from the harsh rays.

Furthermore, it keeps the soil cool and prevents the soil from drying out due to moisture loss. This way, the plant roots remain healthy and are able to grow under sufficient soil conditions.

Mulch can be made from any material as long as it is organic. From grass clippings, shredded wood, and dried leaves, each of these materials will decompose in the soil and contribute nutrients to the overall soil structure.

Weed

Many gigantic weeds enjoy the summer months and overtake your garden bed as soon as the months begin to turn warmer. Since weed growth prevents moisture from accumulating in the soil, it is important to remove them on a timely basis.

Furthermore, weeds also attract certain insects and pests that are harmful to your plants.

It is recommended to pull out weeds when they are small and young. Not only are they easier to pull out, but this also prevents them from producing seeds.

A weed, such as the lamb’s quarters, can produce over 15,000 seeds in one year. If you remove weeds early on, you’ll save yourself from tons of cleaning throughout the year.

Pinch Mums and Perennials

Pinching the top of your plants during the summer months results in a more sturdy specimen. It also gives you more bloom from the side shoots that develop, even though they appear a couple of weeks later.

Some perennials you can pinch during the first half of the summer include bee balm, Russian sage, phlox, perennial sunflower, balloon flower, etc.

Pests

Even though pests should be removed all year round, there are certain species that are attracted to plants during the warm months. Some examples include cucumber beetles, grasshoppers, Japanese beetles, rusts, squash bugs, black spots, etc.

Ground pests can be beneficial, but also harmful to your garden at the same time. Unfortunately, some gardens also attract larger animals that feed off large plants.

Ways to mitigate such issues include installing high built fences using wooden posts and wires. Chicken wires can also be used to protect small plants from hungry birds and mammals.

Water Time

Once the months get warmer and drier, you don’t have to spend every moment of your free time watering your plants. More than frequency, it is the way you efficiently water your plants so they remain moist and healthy enough to grow.

The optimal time to water plants is in the morning when the sun has not risen to its fullest as yet. This allows water to run down to the roots of the plants without too much evaporation taking place.

As a result, your plants would have enough water to get them through the day without craving more water out of dryness.

Ground plants need to be watered less frequently than pots and hanging baskets. Plant pots should be kept in a cooler place so they are exposed to less direct sunlight from the sun and are able to retain the water they receive.

Watering Methods

Water scarcity can be a prevalent problem during the warm months. In order to combat any shortage of water, there are some tools and techniques you can install in your garden:

  • Sprinklers. Such tools are efficient enough to water a large garden bed using minimal water. Not only are they effective, but they also water all the plants evenly if they are installed in the correct positions.
  • Rain barrels. Barrels are an eco-friendly way to store water for future use. Since rainwater is distilled and rich in minerals, it is collected through a rain barrel installation system and used as a primary source to water plants. Capture Rainwater for Gardening
  • Seep hoses. This system allows water to seep out of holes in the hose directly into the soil. They are occasionally buried under the soil or mulch to avoid the issue of evaporation and dried soil during the warm season. One other advantage of seep hoses is that they provide water directly to the roots of the plants.
  • Recycling. If you are interested in another eco-friendly method, recycling water is another way to provide hydration to your plants. Leftover water from steaming or cooking vegetables for smaller pots and plants in the house.
  • Watering cans. Even though such a method can be labor-intensive, they ensure that water reaches plant bases that are occasionally dry. Furthermore, watering using cans and hoses ensures all water is absorbed and weed growth is kept at a minimum.  

Shade

If your garden or yard is exposed to direct sunlight throughout the direct, it is recommended to strategically shade the area. Many experienced gardeners invest in large, complex shade structures so the plants do not get fried under the sun’s harsh rays.

However, depending on your investment criteria and the size of your garden, you can find alternatives to adequate plant shade. Some examples include:

  • Shade cloth. Shade cloth is usually made of woven polyester and is available in varying shades and densities. The color of the shaded cloth you purchase also matters. Blue cloths are preferred for vegetations, while white cloths are preferred for those who want their plants to receive faint sunlight. Moreover, black shade light is for minimal to zero light exposure, and brown shade cloths work well for flowers as they reflect lots of red.
  • Tarpaulin. This is a water-resistant large cloth that is made up of plastics such as polyethylene. It is flexible and ideal for protecting plants from direct sun rays. Occasionally used for camping tents, the colors and material of the tarpaulin work well for protecting plants from excessive rainfall and rays.
summer garden maintenance tips
blooming pink flowers

Questions to Ask Yourself to Maintain Your Summer Garden

Maintaining gardens during the summer months isn’t an easy task for many. Thus, it is always recommended to seek guidance and ask questions before, during, and after your crops are planted. This way, you can make sure your garden received constant nutrients and the plants grow to optimal capacity.

If you’re just starting out, some of the common questions to ask are:

“I Planted Too Much. What Should I Do Now?”

If you notice some larger vegetables taking over the smaller ones, many plants can be made more vertical to avoid overcrowding. Stake any tall plants such as kale, eggplants, broccoli that lean over and disturb other smaller plants.

Similarly, if your plants are too close to each other, thin them out by cutting every other one to provide more space. Plants such as lettuce, chard, and leafy greens are all edible once they’ve been thinned.  

“When Can I Pick My Vegetables?”

One factor to remember is to remain patient. You don’t want to harvest too quickly and eat raw vegetables. The longer your harvest, the more you’ll have to eat. Start with the largest leafy greens and let the other small plants remain as they are.

Pick green beans every alternate day so the plants continue to flower and produce more crops. Moreover, cut broccoli heads once they begin to take shape. Even though the heads will be smaller than their supermarket counterparts, they will still remain tender and delicious.

“What Do I Do About the Excessive Weeds?”

Weeds that seem small in the month of June will sprout to become larger within a month’s time. Most people forget about such weeds and ignore them, without realizing that they will become more of a burden to pick out once they grow.

Unfortunately, weeds need to be pulled manually. You can divide the garden bed in a span of a couple of days if you feel too tired picking each weed out separately, but it is always better to pick them while they are small.

Mulch can also decrease the growth of many weeds. Hence, you can add a layer of chopped grass clippings, dried leaves, and organic matter to avoid picking out so many weeds throughout the summer season.

“Is Watering in the Summer Different Than All Other Seasons?”

As mentioned above, summer months entail drier seasons in which plants are unable to retain enough moisture for growth. It is not about watering consistently, but more about watering deep. This ensures that water and moisture seep deep into the soil so plant roots get the hydration they require.

While it is easy to water on the surface of the stems, do not miss out on the surrounding soil. Plant roots need as much moisture as the leaves visible on the surface.

“What Do I Do After Harvesting Some Crops?”

Once the majority of your plants such as lettuce, peas, and garlic heads are harvested, don’t be afraid to plant more. In many regions seeds of plants such as carrots, kale, and chard can be planted in the same locations and these crops will survive the transitioning seasons as well.

summer garden maintenance tips
green plants with yellow flowers in soil

Plants to Grow During the Warm Summer Months

In order to achieve a non-stop harvest, summer succession planting is your way to go. This can be applied to large gardens, small yards, or even balconies and patios.

The process only requires you to harvest plants, amend the soil, and replant another crop in the same area.

Even though the extreme temperatures can be a challenge for soil moisture and growth patterns, you can plan your crops smartly and expand them over the three months when the weather is at its peak.

We’ve listed down the different varieties of crops you can plant, depending upon the month and temperature:

June and July

  1. Zucchini: This is the ideal plant to grow as it is easy to grow, with fruits ready to harvest simply forty-five days after seeding. For the topmost quality, harvest zucchini plants when they are five to seven inches long.
  2. Collard: Collard leaves are blue-green in color, and are also quick to grow. They work well for the summer months, as well as cooler temperatures in the fall. It is recommended to grow the seed indoors, and proceed outdoors approximately fifty days before the first fall frost.
  3. Broccoli: Ideal for summer succession planting, broccoli plants are ready for harvest approximately two months after they’ve been transplanted. Similar to collard, broccoli seeds can start indoors and moved in the garden around three or four weeks after.
  4. Bush bean: Such crops are ideal for garden beds, hanging baskets, and small pots. They have a quick harvest and yield a tender crop towards the end. The pods are also produced above the foliage, allowing you to easily pick the beans.

August

  1. Green Spinach: Green vegetables such as spinach are ideal for the late summer months. Their green arrow-shaped leaves stand upright, making them easy to pick after harvest also.
  2. Lettuce: These crops can be planted in containers or garden beds, depending upon your gardening location. It is recommended to protect such crops from fall frost so they can grow with ease under transitionary temperatures.
  3. Swiss chard: These crops survive in spring, summer, and fall gardens. They can even survive cool weather as long as they are protected and covered properly. Plant this crop in the middle of the summer, so it can sprout towards the end and leave you with luscious leaves to consume.

Tips for Summer Succession Planting

As mentioned above, succession planting is the answer to maintain a blooming summer garden. Below are some tips for successful planting methods:

  • Plan early. Check your seed inventory and figure out what needs to be planted throughout the summer. Pick out your seeds before you begin planting.
  • Compost. When you’re ready to plant your crops, work with a few inches of compost beforehand.
  • Transplanting. Avoid transplanting your seedlings under the scorching sun in the brightest hours. Wait till the late afternoon, or even a cloudy day when the sun is less strong.
  • Spacing. If you have spacing issues in your garden bed, consider succession planting using boxes or containers. Many crops can survive in pots and planter boxes.

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The Key Takeaway

Now that you are aware of all the summer garden maintenance tips, begin planting yours right away. Don’t wait till the season ends and plan during the spring so your garden bed is filled and you receive tons of organic produce to consume.