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Your Summer Garden Checklist

Your Summer Garden Checklist

Whether you are a seasoned gardening expert, or this is your first attempt, follow these tips to stay on top of your summer gardening. There is a lot to consider when deciding to plant a summer garden. If you are an expert, you begin preparations long before the season is here. However, if this is your inaugural garden, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can enjoy a successful harvest this year. As you check each of these off your list, you will maximize the beauty of your garden and support the health of your plants.

First on the checklist: mulch. It’s important to spread a two inch thick layer of mulch over your soil. The mulch will shield the soil from the sun and keep it cooler. This can put less stress on the roots of the plants and slows the moisture loss due to evaporation. As it decomposes, the mulch will help to improve the structure of the soil and add much needed nutrients. 

Second, make sure you have eliminated the weeds that thrive in the summer. If you aren’t vigilant, they can go from a small patch to taking over your garden! Remove them immediately so they don’t steal the moisture and nutrients from your plants. Moistening the soil can also help in their removal. 

Summer provides lots of colorful options so the third thing to keep in mind is to enjoy this color and plant heat-loving annuals like Angelonia, lantana, ageratum, sweet potato vine and zinnia just to name a few. These types of annuals grow quickly in warm weather and will give you a great burst of color! Add some additional variety by planting summer bulbs like calla, canna, and dahlia. Again, this adds even more color to your garden and will thrive all summer long. 

If you have late blooming perennials (think mums, sedums and asters), keep them in check by pinching the top inch or two of new growth. This often results in more compact, sturdy growth. Another item on the list is to remove any faded flowers. If you remove the spent blooms from the annuals and perennials you have, you just might see more blooms. 

And perhaps the most important item on the list: watch out for pests and diseases. As vigilant as you are with weeding, keep an eye out for pests and disease during the entire growing season. Midsummer is an important checkpoint as many bug populations are in full force and you don’t want all your hard work to go to waste because of unwanted bugs and the diseases they bring. Some problematic species include grasshoppers, tomato hornworms, and cucumber and Japanese beetles. 

And finally, make sure you water appropriately, especially during the warmer months! Experts advise that most common plants require an inch of water per week and it’s best to apply it all at once to encourage the roots to sink deeply into the soil. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are perfect for this job.

Now that you know the basics, your summer garden can thrive as you work your way through this checklist!

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