Summer can be an excellent time for gardening. Summer gardening is perfect for growing a variety of vegetables and flowers. However, good preparation is essential for your garden to survive the summer. With rising soil temperatures and bright sunshine, these fruiting vegetables come alive in your kitchen garden. Summer vegetables are short-season crops usually grown between the Kharif and Rabi seasons. Here are some essential gardening activities to do in summer.
How to prepare your garden for summer
Improve soil quality
Summer heat can affect the quality of your garden soil. Adding organic matter is one of the best ways to enrich the soil. When you plant, add compost or a soil conditioner to increase your soil’s moisture and water-holding capacity. It will also help transfer nutrients to your plants. Compost also promotes a healthy environment for microbes and other beneficial organisms such as insects. Soil quality keeps the soil healthy and protects the root system from pests and diseases.
The best type of soil allows the roots to grow and spread quickly. Tilling helps break up the soil, so nutrients and water are spread throughout the soil. You can also improve your garden soil by adding organic material, such as fruit and vegetable peels, eggs, or mulch, to add more nutrients to the soil.
Look out for weeds
Weeds are inevitable when you have a garden or lawn and tend to grow more in the summer. Weeds can damage fruit and flower plants, so controlling them and stopping their growth is essential. For this purpose, you can apply mulch as it not only prevents weed growth but also helps reduce runoff and surface crusting.
It is advisable to choose organic mulch as it consists of compost, leaves, dry grass clippings, bark, and pine needles, which do not harm the plants compared to synthetic mulch with chemicals. You can also use grass mats, preventing weed seeds from getting into the soil. Also, using a weed mat will prevent the need for herbicides. Grass mulch also helps retain soil moisture, limiting evaporation and promoting erosion control.
Make the garden plan
When summer is at its peak, you should start planning for monsoons. The new garden season begins in June. Create a complete garden plan for next year with accurate measurements. Identify areas for all garden features like trees, shrubs, flower beds, kitchen garden, etc.
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Mulch garden beds
Your soil is ready. You are just waiting for the plants. If you know you’ll be working with plants that have already been seeded (or purchased from a local nursery), it’s not tricky to mulch first; then, plant your plants when it’s warm enough. Adding mulching to your garden beds is very important to keep weeds down.
Weeds will grow when you don’t add mulch. By tackling a few tasks before summer, you can help ensure the success of your summer vegetable garden. Use this spring to prepare for summer gardening. Some reasons to add mulch to the garden: it helps keep moisture in and kills weeds. Apply mulch in early spring to take advantage of wet spring weather so your soil can retain moisture.
With prolonged sun exposure, plants need more water. However, when you water, plants can directly affect their ability to absorb water. Therefore, in the summer season, it is better to water the plants in the late evening or early morning, mainly during the cool part of the day. This gives time for the water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots of the plants. On the other hand, if you water the plants around noon, the sunlight will cause the water to evaporate, which means the water won’t reach the roots at all.
You should also get a delivery of new garden soil to ensure there is enough soil to cover the roots of the plants. To summarize, repeat your watering schedule to ensure your plants are well hydrated. Summer is the time to find an authentic groundwater source. You can dig a borewell in your garden by obtaining appropriate permission from local authorities. A borewell can be a constant and safe supply of fresh water for your garden plants. It is always recommended to use groundwater instead of river water or any other source for gardening.
Collection of gardening materials
All necessary materials should be collected during the summer months for the following gardening calendar year activities. Collect and store all garden soil, dung compost, different types of pots, fertilizers, pruning and cutting tools, hand tools, digging and cutting tools, spray pumps, etc., before the onset of rain.
Add colorful containers
Keep container annuals at their best with regular watering, fertilizing, and deadheading. In mid-summer, cut annuals like petunias and million bells by half and feed regularly with a water-soluble bloom booster fertilizer for a new color. Replace tired-looking plants with fresh plants for an updated look. Move containers into mixed borders with holes or gaps for an element of surprise.
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Deadheading and pruning plants for more flowers
Deadheading annual flowers promotes foliage and encourage more blooms. Pinch off any faded flowers from the foliage, and they will soon be covered with flowers again. For a spectacular display of garden flowers that can last through summer and fall. Removal from plants after the flowers have faded or died may be a necessary technique. Known as deadheading, this causes plants to flower over a more extended season. Deadheading is an important task to maintain within the garden throughout the growing season.
The best thing you can do for your garden right now is to deadhead—removing flower buds and sometimes entire stems to limit seed production and enable new blooms on such plants. Forms that can promote a new set of flowers. Deadheading enables plants to store more energy in their root systems to support plant growth and prepare for next year’s flowers because they are not expending that energy on seed production and ripening. Whether they die from the disease, pest damage, or natural causes, dead plants should not remain in the garden.
Firstly, there is a difference between deadheading and pruning. When you deadhead a plant, you are removing dead leaves or flowers. On the other hand, pruning means removing any part of the plant to make it shorter. Deadheading before summer allows your plants to continue producing. Pruning established plants at this time, like fruit trees, also allows them to produce more. Pruning helps slow growth, resist disease or pests, and restore the shape and structure of trees and shrubs.
Watch out for pests
As temperatures rise, more and more bugs start to emerge. Believe it or not, many bugs and insects can harm your garden. You may be familiar with pests like Aphids, Caterpillars, Japanese beetles, Spittlebugs, Fire ants, Cutworms, Scales, Spider mites, and Squash bugs.
Fertilize your plants
When it comes to summer gardening, one of the most important things you can do is fertilize. Fertilizing not only helps your plants grow and thrive, but it also helps keep them healthy and free from pests and diseases. Firstly, make sure you choose a fertilizer specifically designed for summer use. There are different fertilizer types on the market, so read the label carefully before making your purchase.
Second, be careful not to over-fertilize your plants. Too much fertilizer can harm your plants and make them more susceptible to pests and diseases. This will help the fertilizer reach the plants’ roots and ensure they get the necessary nutrients.
Add temporary shade
Creating shaded areas for planting or covering your garden is beneficial as it protects the plants from overheating. Here are a few ideas:
- Plant other plants like sunflowers to help block the sun. Sunflowers like full sun, so they will thrive in this environment.
- Use shade cloth to cover the part of the plants that need shade.
- Use umbrellas to create shade.
Keep your plants hydrated
Plants aren’t known to be very demanding, so it may surprise you when they start asking for more water. Warmer summer temperatures, increased sunlight, reduced humidity, and rapid growth mean your plants need constant full watering. Set a watering schedule and then stick to it. Ensure your garden is hydrated correctly by adding the right amount of water to the soil. Watering plants at the right time in summer is essential for their growth and water retention. That is why it is said that it is best to water plants first thing in the morning.
Then, this allows water to reach the plant roots as it flows into the soil without evaporating too much. As a result, plants have access to water throughout the day, allowing them to cope better with the sun’s heat. Another thing to remember is that plants like to be watered at their base. Instead of watering the leaves, try watering the base of the plant so it can absorb water more efficiently. Use a watering can with a spigot that ensures the right amount of water reaches the roots, preventing the garden plants from getting too wet or too dry.
This way, your garden plants will be well hydrated and have a healthy garden. Water your garden well. Water is everything in the summer, whether jumping in the pool, taking a dip in the ocean, or giving plants a good drink. Watering effectively during more excellent times of the day and using compost and organic mulches that break down will keep your garden full of the moisture your plants need during the summer.
Get rid of weeds and pests
It would help if you also pulled up anything that grows between smooth slabs or cracks on the surface of your patio. Keeping the garden clean will also stop weeds from stealing nutrients from the soil that your plants need. Another task is ensuring your garden is free of pests – especially slugs that like to wreak havoc on your flower beds. Instead of using toxic pesticides, many natural solutions are eco-friendly. For example, sprinkling crushed eggshells on your soil will help repel slugs.
Mulch your garden
Mulch can make a big difference in growing conditions: keeping the soil warm, preventing weeds, and helping to conserve moisture. It is ideal for keeping a thick layer of mulch on your landscape and garden plants during the summer. However, in wet years, some water-sensitive plants may benefit from removing the mulch to allow some drying.
Spreading a 2-inch mulch layer over your soil is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Mulch blankets the ground protects the soil from the sun and keeps it cool. This keeps your plant’s roots happy and prevents evaporation’s moisture loss. There is no single best type of mulch. Anything made of organic matter—shredded wood, pine straw, grass clippings, and shredded leaves—will help your soil decompose and add texture.
Add color with summer annuals
Once the heat of summer arrives, many spring-blooming annuals — Pansies, Violas, Osteosperms. Keep your yard tidy by replacing spent plants with heat-loving varieties, such as Angelonia, Lantana, Ageratum, Coleus, Pentas, Portulaca, Salvia, and Zinnia. These summer-friendly annuals proliferate in warm temperatures and will soon provide beautiful color. If drought, insects, or diseases kill any of your summer annuals, transplant them to continue the color.
Eliminate small containers
During the cooler months, use containers of any size to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers successfully. But small containers get hot and dry out very quickly when it gets hot. Also, their small size makes it difficult to grow anything in them. So when the temperature rises, it’s time to put the smaller containers away until things start to cool down in the fall.
Remove soil from containers, use it as mulch, or add it to your compost. If desired, continue using larger containers that hold 10 gallons or more of soil. Use the spaces in your garden to plant warm-season crops. Then, when crops like Potatoes, Garlic, and Onions are harvested, decide what to plant.
Grow favorite summer plants
Summer favorite vegetables to encourage growth and resist disease are Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Sorrels, Beans, Berries, Sweet Potatoes, Southern Peas, Okra, Lettuce, Eggplant, Amaranth, Malabar Spinach, Corn, Melons, and Shallots.
Flowers – Lilies, Blanket Flower, Gloriosa Daisy, Musk Rose, Marigold, Veronica, Roses, Bougainvillea, Dahlia, Sunflower, Coreopsis, Yarrow, and Chrysanthemums.
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Clean your tools
If you’ve had your gardening tools covered in mud and dirt in the shed all winter, now’s the time to clean them out. Dirty tools can wear out quickly and cause disease and plant damage. Wash away the dirt with water, and remove stubborn mud with a stiff brush. Oiling your gardening tools will also help prevent them from rusting. Keep tools clean and free of dirt after each use to prolong their life and ensure that your plants and flowers are well cared for.
Cleaning them is incredibly important if you already have all the necessary tools. Wash your metal tools, such as spades and rakes, with water and a stiff brush, as dirty tools can help spread diseases and affect the plants you’re growing in your garden. It would help if you always oiled your gardening equipment once cleaned, preventing them from rusting.
Watering is key to making sure your plants grow in time for summer. You can even collect your water in the water butt. This is an eco-friendly way to water your plants and grass. Collecting water with a water butt is not only environmentally friendly, but it’s also much better for your plants. Tap water can sometimes be alkaline, damaging some plants or flowers, so natural rainwater is a much better option.
Summer is the time to do significant pruning. Summer pruning is also beneficial for keeping an eye on growth. Since summer is just beginning, this is the best time to prune spring-flowering shrubs. You should cut the growth that has finished flowering and cut it outwards to the flower buds. Also, if there are crossings and rotten branches, they should be pruned.
Pruning will help clear damaged parts of the plant that are hindering growth. Since summer is the final growing season, plants will grow faster and healthier. Finally, you should remove dead leaves and foliage to ensure that healthy parts of the plant are not affected.
Summer growing plants prefer warm, dry weather and long days for their vegetative and reproductive growth. Summer garden plants need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight and optimal soil temperature to grow well. Therefore, the length of day and warm summer temperatures favor flowering and fruiting in these vegetables. The summer season is the best time for fun in the sun, vacations, and spending time with family and friends. It is a great time to work on your summer gardening.
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