Simple Solutions to Get Your Garden Ready for Summer!
How is your home garden?
Did you remember to start your garden this spring?
Have you planned to get your garden going every spring and keep forgetting?
Although June is typically peak garden season, don't worry if you didn't get around to planting this spring.
There are plenty of methods to enjoy a prosperous home garden this summer. For example, as you admire the native flowers starting to bloom and hear the buzzing bees, there is still time to plant some vegetable seeds that will provide some fresh produce in the summer.
Start Your Garden Today!
The home garden doesn't happen overnight. It all starts with a plan, along with some native seeds and tools. Plus, some tips shared from experienced gardeners help get any garden ready for summer!
The Basic Garden Plants
Part of the garden plan is a notebook or place to capture your dream garden. It helps to plan what types of plants (flowers and/or edibles) and color scheme. The notebook can capture other plants you discover and act as a reminder to add them in future years.
As part of that plan, it is always good to note that there are two main types of plants: perennials and annuals.
- Perennials live for more than two years and should be spaced about 18 inches apart, which provides sufficient room for new growth, along with making the garden look full.
- Annuals live for a year, from seed to blossom, and easily add color to gardens that would otherwise be full of dead space.
To finalize the plan, then create a simple calendar that helps remind you to plant those seeds in the spring and provides reminders throughout the growing season. For example, many gardeners note things like:
- fertilizing schedule (every six-to-eight weeks throughout the growing season).
- pruning schedule (in the fall after the summer heat passes).
- additions to the garden (certain bulbs should be planted in the fall).
The Basic Garden Tools
The proper tools makes garden chores more pleasant. However, keep in mind that you don't need to stock your toolshed on day 1, the basics should keep your garden running smoothly.
- Gardening Gloves
- Trowel and/or Weeding Tools
- Garden Hose and Spray Nozzle
- Hand Pruner
- Metal Rake
- Leaf Rake
Garden Tips Shared by Experienced Pros
The experienced gardener learns some tricks of the trade over years of practice and patience. However, if you are looking to jumpstart your garden and start growing this summer, then there are some helpful tips, such as:
- Add some food coloring to the rain gage to easily read the gage.
- Line the back of your car with a plastic tarp and a small step ladder. Place fragile plants between rungs to protect them during the ride home.
- Lighten heavy pots by filling the pot one-third to one-half full with packing peanuts. Be sure to place a piece of landscape fabric on top of the packing peanuts and then layer on your potting soil.
- Upgrade your wheelbarrow by fitting a piece of plywood to the back end with wood cleats to create a flat surface that is perfect for potting.
- Water potted patio plants with the leftover water from boiled or steamed vegetables.
- Add leftover tea or coffee ground to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries.
- Grow vegetables in a location that gets at least 8 hours of direct sunlight every day.
Or these tips that help your garden plants flourish:
- Deadheading (removing spent and faded flowers) encourages plants to place energies into stronger leaves and roots instead of seed production. Avoid deadheading plants grown especially for their fruits or pods.
- Control weeds by hand-weeding and hoeing. Avoid deep hoeing or cultivating, which can bring weed seeds to the soil's surface.
- Weed early and often so weeds don't go to seed. Use mulch to smother and prevent annual weeds.
- Prevent aggressive plants from taking over your garden by planting them in a plastic container (with the bottom cut off) because the roots can grow directly down into the soil.
- Protect bulbs over the winter by adding netting over the bed of flowers. Simply remove the netting or cut holes in the cloth and let the plants grow through during the spring.
- Monitor rain because garden plants grow best with 1 to 2 inches of water per week. Water deeply once a week because shallow watering only moistens the top layer of soil and encourages the plant's roots to move there instead of growing deeper.
Southeastern Garden Tips
Brian Sullivan, Vice President for Gardens, Landscape, and Outdoor Collections at The New York Botanical Garden notes that all regions have differences in growing environments.
"Take a look at the characteristics of your garden area—from the climate to sun exposure. It's the most important thing to start with because you'll want to understand the limits and the possibilities."
For example, June in the Southeast means milkweed, which is a pretty addition to any garden (although the downside is the plant is great baby food for young caterpillars).
To find out the native plants that bloom in the area, simply head to the local garden shop and ask questions about the best plants for the region and any particulars of your home garden area.
Like everything in your home. It's a process. As Brian Sullivan captures the essence of homeownership through the garden!
"Gardening is a process. It doesn't just happen in one day—it takes time."
Just like with your home services, keep on eye on the main systems (plumbing, HVAC and electrical) through preventative maintenance and you'll reward yourself in the end!
A little work in the garden each week will ensure a prosperous bloom throughout the year. Therefore, remember to:
- Remain Patient
In order to have a home garden that flourishes, then patience and constant monitoring helps your plants thrive!