Summer Garden Tips

During the hot summer days, there's plenty to do in the garden. With some planning, you can make the best use of your time by prioritizing what needs to be done and start focusing on relaxing and enjoying your outdoor oasis.

  1) Be Waterwise:  use mulch around your flower/shrubs' beds to suppress weeds and help retain moisture. Use drip irrigation when possible and water early or late in the day—mainly when using sprinklers or watering wands—to minimize evaporation. 

  2) Keep Pollinators Happy:  insects and hummingbirds are crucial for pollinating edibles and other plants. Include a selection of native plants that will bloom over the growing season to attract diverse wildlife. For example, annual sunflowers and zinnias, or specialty wildflower mixes, are quick-growing options for new gardens or edible beds. 

  3) Prepare the deck, patio, and other exterior entertainment areas: hose down patio and deck areas occasionally, and wipe the dust from patio furniture with a damp cloth. Switch out pillows or cushions, and move containers around for an updated look. Cut fresh flowers from the garden and arrange them in vases around your patio for an extra pop of color.

  4) Lower the temperatures:  plants are nature's own air conditioner; areas under trees can be up to 20 degrees cooler than adjacent sunny spots. Plant a tree to shade the patio or deck, and locate benches and chairs underneath existing trees. Place a fountain, pool, or small portable water feature near your patio for a cooling evaporation effect, and the soothing sound of moving water. 

    5) Prevent pests naturally: focus on promoting health from the beginning by selecting healthy seeds and seedlings known to resist diseases and suited to your climate. Strong seeds are likely to produce plants with little need for pesticides. Plant at the proper time of year and maintain even soil temperature and moisture. Water wisely(see above). You can also use biological controls by encouraging birds and beneficial insects that eat pests. For example, ladybugs and their larvae eat aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies, and mites. Other beneficial bugs include spiders, centipedes, ground beetles, lacewings, dragonflies, and big-eyed bugs.

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