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Maintaining a Healthy Summer Garden

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Summer mornings in the garden become our favorite place to sip our favorite morning beverage as the sun rises and the birds’ song wakes us up to a new day. We happily water garden beds and flowerpots, checking each one as they reward our efforts with another bloom, ripe tomato, and handful of fresh herbs.

Then, all of a sudden, the heat and humidity have settled in and the thought of that hot morning beverage outside seems ridiculous. We rush through the morning gardening chores in an effort to escape back inside where the air conditioning will blow cool air on our dripping faces!

How to Keep a Healthy Summer Garden

Despite the temperatures, there are a few things we can do to keep our plants healthy and us smiling in appreciation.

Water plants thoroughly, taking care to water only the soil, not the foliage, and making sure they stay moist, but not soggy. Watering is best done in the early morning so that plants have adequate moisture to make it through the heat of day.

Use of a watering wand for hand watering can help make this task a bit easier. Installing a drip irrigation system is a great tool that can easily be accomplished with this type of kit.

Check soil level in containers as there is a good chance it has compacted due to plant growth and watering. Gently loosen it taking care not to damage plant roots and top it off with a bit more fresh soil. Adding a layer of mulch can also help keep soil from drying out.

To ensure thorough watering, water containers until the water starts to drip out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If your containers are in full sun, they may appreciate a shady spot to finish out the summer.

Annual plants typically require a nice trim around this time as they become a bit leggy and may not be flowering as much. As annuals are generally heavy feeders, giving them a boost with a water soluble fertilizer is helpful.

Keep up with deadheading flowering perennials of spent blooms as many will continue producing more blooms well in to fall. Deadheading also encourages plants to continue to grow thicker and fuller and has the added benefit of keeping the garden nice and tidy in appearance.

If your flower beds are looking a bit tired, be sure to remove any weeds, add a layer of compost, and freshen up with a layer of mulch.

Continue to harvest and enjoy those summer vegetables and as they diminish, pull them out in preparation for that fall planting. It’ll be here before you know it!

Fun fact: The Farmers’ Almanac says the dog days of summer are from July 3 to August 11 each year, and they are usually the hottest days of the season. The phrase refers to Sirius, which is the Dog Star and is when the sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, which is the brightest star visible from Earth. Sirius is part of the constellation Canis Major, the Greater dog. Read more about it here.