Even though summers tend to be hot and muggy, it’s important to find time to work in your garden. Your effort will help keep up with maintenance and your plants will appreciate the care. The following list is one that I try to adhere to during the summer months:
Holly’s Summer Gardening Check List:
- Always wear a wide brimmed hat and sunblock.
- Best to work in the mornings or evenings.
- Water during dry periods, preferably in the morning. Deep watering is important as it is more beneficial than frequent shallow watering. Water newly planted or transplanted plants well and often. Note: summer is not the time to transplant and move plants around because of heat stress and dry conditions.
- Do a lot of cutting back, starting with dead or diseased growth. If certain plants provide seed and or cover/habitat for wildlife, then leave them alone. These might include cone flowers (Echinacea), Joe-pye weed (Eupatorium), sunflowers (Helianthus), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), & beebalm (Monarda).
- Dead head plants that rebloom such as catmint (Nepeta), pinks (Dianthus), lavender (Lavandula) and reblooming roses.
- Cut back fall blooming plants by about 50% so that they will not flop and require staking – this includes chrysanthemums, asters, and toad lilies. Don’t cut after early July or you will remove the flower buds.
- Cut back and harvest herbs. Italian basil should not be allowed to flower during summer since it is the leaves we want to eat. The flowering takes energy away from the leaf’s delicious flavor.
- Stay ahead of the weeds so they do not seed. As a result, it will be less of a chore in the long run. If you want to spray weeds, I recommend using Avenger or Burnout. Spray on a hot, sunny day and use a strong dilution.
- If you use mulch to help keep in moisture and suppress weeds, try using small wood chips (sometimes called Pine Fines). Or use compost or pine needles.
- If you have a lawn, do not mow it too short. This can cause burning which encourages weeds.
- Check climbing plants to see is they need training or cutting back.
- Sow seeds of late summer/fall vegetables and herbs in late July. These include broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, cilantro, parsley, & chervil.
- Collect seeds from plants you intend to grow from seed next year or spread them in the place in the garden where you want them to grow – make sure to place a label there. I do this with annual and biennial flowers and herbs including opium poppies, larkspur, foxglove, sweet chamomile, calendula, dill, fennel, & chervil.
- Constantly check your garden for any sitting water to keep mosquitoes from breeding. Be sure to dump out any standing water asap. If the water will remain standing then add Mosquito Dunks into the water. Mosquito Dunks contain a biological control for mosquito larvae that is harmless to birds, fish, wildlife and pets.