9 Useful Tips for Your Summer Garden
Summer is a great time to get out into the garden and tackle those essential tasks that keep your outdoor space looking its best. After the bulbs are planted and the seeds are sown, continual attention can help make sure it looks its best all summer long. Here are some tips for tackling summer gardening tasks.
Clean Up the Patio
A job for the early summer is cleaning! Once the sun is out, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible out on your patio. After a rainy and snowy winter, many patios and decks can benefit from pressure washing. When setting up your patio furniture, be sure to give it fresh scrub with soapy water to clean it up before adding cushions and pillows. If you are sensitive to the heat or sun, think about investing in umbrellas or shade sails, and misters to keep you cool. You’ll be thankful for the nice clean space to relax in after working hard in your garden, or a long day at the office.
Weeding and Mulching
A task that comes to most gardeners’ minds when talking about upkeep is weeding. Keeping on top of weeding is essential in the summer months as weed growth can quickly take over a garden if left unchecked. Mulch can be very beneficial in the control of weeds. Spread about a 10 cm (4”) deep layer of fresh mulch over exposed soil to shield the ground from heat and sun, but also keep weeds from overtaking your garden bed. Mulching will save you some time in the garden. Cut down the time spent weeding and add more time to relax in the sun.
Keep on top of mowing your lawn to make sure it looks neat and tidy. Make sure you mow at the right height for your grass type and time of year, so that you don’t damage the lawn. From late spring to early summer the lawn grows very quickly so you can trim it a bit shorter. In July and August, normally the hottest time of year in Canada, keep your grass longer to lessen the chance of the lawn drying out. A longer lawn does not burn as easily. Keep in mind that a brown lawn in summer is okay as it will recover come fall.
Take care of your plants during the hot heat! After hours of planting, weeding, and mulching, you don’t want a lack of water to be the downfall of your garden. During the hottest weather, keeping plants well-watered is essential to keep them looking their best. Consider investing in a drip irrigation system or timer for your hose so that you can set up an efficient watering schedule without having to manually water each plant every day. The best time to water your plants is in the early morning hours as this allows the plant to have access to the moisture in the soil as it is actively growing and photosynthesizing during the day. If you don’t have time to water on your way out in the morning (or if you are not an early riser), the second-best time to water is in the early evening. Read our blog How to Water Your Plants for an in-depth article about watering your garden.
Some plants can grow to incredible heights during the summer months. Others can fill out and get top-heavy. Ensure your garden stays accessible, neat, tidy, and healthy, by providing support for tall flowers and other plants that may need extra stability. Dahlias are a common plant that requires stakes, as they can grow to 150 cm (60″) with heavy blooms of up to 12”! Peonies are a popular choice for summer gardens, but their large blooms can make them top-heavy and prone to snapping in windy weather. Use lattices, stakes, and hoops to provide support for fruit, peonies, and dahlias so they don’t topple over in the breeze. Make sure to keep an eye out for plants that would benefit from staking. Rebar, long wooden dowels, thin pieces of lumber, or bamboo poles are perfect choices. Use some string to loosely attach the stalk to the stake.
Keep your plants blooming longer. Deadheading your plants ensures more and more blooms throughout their blooming cycle – and keeps your plants looking fresh and beautiful. To remove faded flowers to encourage reblooming, simply pinch or cut off the bloom. Not all plants require deadheading. Common summer plants to deadhead for extra summer blooms are roses, dahlias, callas, dianthus, echinacea, gaillardia, lavender, phlox, marigolds, pelargonium, and petunias. Other plants to deadhead to encourage nutrients to be stored for next year’s flowers are rhododendron, lilacs, hydrangeas, astilbe, crocosmia, peonies, lilies, and gladiolus. Make sure to perform deadheading as soon as the flower’s appearance has faded. Deadheading will also improve the appearance of your garden.
An unfortunate sight in the garden is damage from garden pests. We need pollinators for productive crops, but our gardens also attract unwelcome visitors. As our plants are situated within their living spaces, it’s not surprising the leaves of our plants get munched on by pesky bugs. There are certain plants you get to help in the fight against pests. You can plant clover, mint, and dill to attract good insects to your garden. These plants will attract the good type of insects you want for your garden. Many good bugs will prey upon the unwanted pests and assist in thwarting the outbreak of more unwanted bugs. Common good bugs to invite to your garden are ladybugs, bees, and spiders to name a few. To repel unwanted visitors such as aphids, Japanese beetles, snails, slugs, the neighbour’s cat (cute but often destructive to a garden), and moles, try planting lavender, sage, garlic, chives, and onions. There are also organic and chemical products to purchase at garden centers to combat insects in the garden.
Harvest Vegetables and Flowers
Throughout the summer you will have the pleasure of harvesting tasty vegetables and sweet fruits from your garden! As you walk around your garden watering, remember to carry a bowl or basket to cut flowers for arranging, and harvesting freshly ripe treasures.
Share Your Garden
Enjoy your garden! After much hard work, it’s great to share your garden with others. Have your friends over for a summer barbeque (check out our blog on fun things to do in the yard). A memorable way to showcase your blooms and crops is on social media! Take a relaxing walk through your garden and take pictures of all your favourite blooms. Post for your friends and family to enjoy! You can keep track of what blooms when in your garden. Plus, the images of your summer garden will be great to look back on – especially during those cold winter months.
Weeding garden beds, trimming plants, and keeping the lawn tidy are all essential summer gardening tasks that people often overlook. By taking care of your garden now, you can ensure it looks great for the rest of the season! So don’t wait – get outside and start tackling those summer gardening tasks today!