Get down and dirty in the garden
From fruit and veggie plots to flower beds, your summertime garden provides a wonderful way to pass time throughout the summer months, all while enjoying their color and harvest. However, summer gardens face a unique set of growing challenges. Overwatering, pesky insects and weeds can wreak havoc on your garden. Here are a few tips to help you maintain and enjoy the beauty of your garden this summer.
Photo courtesy shutterstock.
Sure, it may be heating up, but that doesn’t mean you have to water your plants more than you typically do. First, consider the fact that you may be watering your garden all wrong. Bonnie Plants, a national plant wholesaler, suggests avoiding wetting the leaves because it can potentially cause disease. If you water with a sprinkler, getting the leaves wet is almost unavoidable; however, if you water early in the day the foliage dries out quickly, minimizing the chance of disease. If you’re not an early riser, use a sprinkler timer.
Bonnie Plants also recommends watering your garden veggies just three times a week. If you’re growing in containers, you may need to water more frequently because they tend to dry out much faster than in-ground plants.
Make sure to keep an eye out for your garden’s indicator plant, or the plant that tends to wilt first in warm summer conditions, such as big-leafed plants like melon, cucumber and squash. If you notice wilting, it’s time to water the garden!
Keep Summertime Pests Away
No garden is off limits when it comes to summertime pests, however, common garden pests like slugs and earwigs can be eliminated. If you notice that your plants have holes in their leaves, it’s likely that you have slugs in your garden. These pests can be treated with baits, which can even be found in non-toxic forms, such as Natria, that are safe for other types of wildlife as well as kids and pets.
Earwigs are considered to be decomposers. Although they feed on old plant material, which is beneficial to your garden, they eat the healthy stuff, too. Fortunately, a simple home remedy can take care of your earwig problem. Place a tuna can on the ground so that it's level with the soil and add a tiny bit of vegetable oil inside to capture the earwigs.
Additionally, pests like termites thrive in moist conditions, so the mulch you’re using in your garden may help termites get closer to your home. Termites feed on wood-based materials and most mulch is made from wood chips. The pest control experts from Termites.com suggest keeping mulch at least six inches away from the base of your home and other wood structures to reduce the risk of an infestation. Mulch alternatives include sand, pea gravel, rubber mulch and decorative stone.
Weeds are a common perennial garden problem. There are many ways to keep your garden weed-free this summer. Arm yourself with a set of good gardening tools, like a sharp trowel and claw, and uproot the weeds by hand. For a natural, less-strenuous method, sprinkle corn gluten meal throughout your garden. This method keeps weed seeds from germinating, according to the Bob Villa website.
Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.