How to Prepare Your Garden for the Summer
Posted on June 07 2019
With Summer just around the corner, it’s time to shake things up in the garden as we transition from one season to the next. While it’s easy to fall into the same garden routine day after day, modifying your techniques and strategies with each coming season is one of the best ways to ensure your garden maintains its health.
Because every season brings new weather conditions, different pests and unique challenges, it can never hurt to prepare for what’s to come after one season ends and a new one begins. Read on to learn some of the most common issues you might face in your garden this Summer and how to deal.
1. Garden Pests
For many people, Summer is known to be a time of relaxation and vacations under the sun, but unfortunately, this is not the case for bugs. In fact, this is one of their busier seasons as they come out of the woodwork from cooler Winter and Spring temperatures. In other words, if you thought you had a pest problem during the Spring, don’t be surprised to find yourself fighting yet another bug battle this Summer.
To keep bugs at bay, sprays of Neem Oil, soapy water and/or bacillus thuringiensis help keep the pest population down. Although, beneficial insects may also do the trick!
It’s no surprise that with warmer weather and increased sunshine, you will need to water your plants more frequently. Because the extra sunshine will cause your soil to dry out faster, you can start by watering your plants daily and depending on how much water they retain, you can increase the frequency to twice a day.
This is especially true for flowering or fruiting plants which will not produce anything without proper hydration. If you notice your plants are brown, limp, have drooping leaves and slow growth, this may be a sign that they could use some extra watering.
Of course, the simplest way to check if your plants need watering is by placing your finger into the top few inches of soil. If the soil beneath the surface is dry to the touch, you need to water your plants.
3. Increased Temperatures
It’s a no brainer that Summer brings hot weather which can wreak havoc in your garden if not managed properly. Because of this, you may need to monitor your garden more closely. For increased soil moisture retention, you can add mulch to the surface of your soil to keep the soil from losing water through evaporation.
Meanwhile, you can move your plants to the shade if the Summer sun becomes too strong or in some cases, you can move your plants indoors. Another option is to shade your plants with a canopy once they’ve had enough sun for the day.
Although weeds are a cause for concern in any season, the type of weed you see in the Summer differs from those you may see in other seasons. Summer weeds tend to be annual. They germinate in the Spring, leaving most of their growth to be done throughout the heart of the Summer season. Then, their seeds remain dormant in the soil until the following Spring when the growth cycle continues.
Managing weeds is an endless job but the following ways may be useful:
- You can till your soil before planting summer crops to disturb the weed seedlings before they sprout.
- You can bury the growing points of the weeds, but for full control, this method will need to be repeated until weeds are no longer actively growing.
- Disturb the rooting system of premature weeds by cutting the root system.
- Use a natural herbicide like Zinc Sulfate to cause the weeds to die off.
With warmer weather comes extra strong sunshine and because of this, it’s not unusual for your crops to burn. This is called sunscald and is very similar to sunburn in humans. When the strong UV rays from the sun shine down on your sensitive plants, they burn and you may notice the leaves of the plants turning white – either the whole leaf or parts of it.
Meanwhile, produce becomes tan to light brown in color and has slight cracks along the flesh.
In sunscald, the outer tissues of the leaves or flesh of the fruit/vegetable burn with the increased light exposure. Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the damage of sunscald. In most cases, you must allow the leaves of the plant to fall off or remove the burnt fruit from the plant and support the plant until it produces new leaves or food.
To prevent sunscald, you’ll want to supervise your plants as much as possible especially if they’re in-ground plants. Don’t allow your plants to receive sunlight for an extended period of time and be sure to shade them when possible.
Don't Forget the Fertilizer
When prepping for your Summer garden, it's important to keep in mind the type of fertilizer you will be applying to your soil. If you're using organic fertilizer, you'll want to apply this to your soil at least 2 to 3 weeks before planting Summer crops because organic nutrients need time to break down in the soil.
On the other hand, if you are using synthetic fertilizer, you can apply this after planting and the nutrients from the fertilizer will be readily available for uptake.
No matter your Summer garden plans, be sure to grow with Greenway for a bountiful harvest at the end of the season.