The summer months can be sweltering which means that gardening might seem like a chore. However, this article includes a list of ten tips for successful summertime gardening as well as year round advice.
1. Know What Plants Will Grow In Your Area
You can't grow coconuts in New England. Take a moment to learn which planting zone you live in and before purchasing seeds, check to make sure they will grow in your zone.
2. Plant Early
Most suggest waiting to begin until Memorial Day weekend, but as long as you are certain it won't frost during the night, you are free to get those seeds in the ground.
3. Be Organized
Keep a garden journal and label your rows. I keep all seed packets and paste them into a journal with a description of when planted, whether annual or perennial, grow time and how delicious the produce was. By keeping yourself organized, you won't accidentally buy something you didn't like the results of before. Also, be sure to label your rows to match the seed packet label.
4. Keep Soil Healthy
Know what your plants are going to need from the soil. Some plants take a lot of nutrients so I am a proponent of compost. I collect compostable waste and put it in a paper bag. When it's full; I dig a hole in the garden and put the whole thing in, cover it and let the worms work. This way, the soil gets replenished naturally.
5. Cover Plants During Light Frosts
This is especially important if you plant early in the season. Gardening companies often sell items specifically for this purpose, but you could also use rinsed milk jugs with the bottoms cut out.
6. Use Companion Planting
Plants such as yarrow, marigold and nasturtium are planted near other plants in order to discourage bad bugs as well as to encourage good bugs and healthy plants.
7. Keep Weeds at Bay
I like to put down newspaper, or another thick, Biodegradable Plastic, over the garden before planting, then cut small holes for plants to grow through. It isn't fail proof but it can help. You will need several layers of newspaper for this to be effective.
8. Tie, Trim and Thin
Plant thickly then “thin” your rows. Compost the thinned plants. Prune back some plants to get them to grow larger and fuller or for more fruit production.
9. Avoid Watering at Midday
Water droplets on plants act as magnifiers for the sun's rays and at midday, the sun is strongest. This can lead to damage of leaves and fruit. Water in the evenings or early morning.
10. Protect Your Garden From Animals
This is especially true of vegetable gardens, but some animals enjoy eating flowers too. The most obvious solution is a fence, but it needs to be deep and tall. You can purchase wolf urine or train a dog to urinate around the perimeter. Collect your hair and place it close to your plants. These smells should deter animals. It's a challenge, but the end results are worth it.