Sunday, July 31, 2011

Top 5 Tips for Midsummer Gardening Survival

Midsummer is a hard time for your garden. It is when it will begin to look tired, pests will sneak in and it is when you have the highest probability of loosing plants. You do not need to despair however, as there are things you can do to make this easier and prevent disaster.

Top 5 Tips for Midsummer Gardening Survival

1.) Plan your work time. This is vitally important not only for your plants but yourself as well. Early morning and late evening tend to be the best times to work in your garden.

2.) Manage your watering. Watering is a huge expense for gardeners during the summer. You can manage this by watering early in the morning or late evening when evaporation is at its lowest. A watering system on a timer would allow you to water in the dead of night during the coolest possible point.

Containers may need watering 2 or 3 times a day as their moisture evaporation is constant and is increased due the heat generated from the sun heating up the container. A coil of cotton rope can be soaked and placed either in the bottom of the pot prior to planting or in the catch container underneath. The rope will hold the water and allow for slow absorption of fluids without drowning your plants. However be aware you may need to soak it daily or more often depending on temperatures.

The one inch rule for watering lawns is a good one, however in addition to that test the soil, watch how quickly the lawn bounces back, and check for wilted leaves.

3.) Mow your lawn high. While different types of grasses recommend different lengths for ideal height to be cut at. Mow your lawn ½ to an inch higher than that recommendation. This will keep the roots cooler, cut down on the need for water and encourage your grass to row fatter roots. Fat roots ensure good winter survival and better growth come spring.

Note: Midsummer to late fall is not the time to plant new grass. If it grows at all it will grow more slowly and the chances of it surviving winter are not as great. Some grasses are meant to be planted at the end of fall, most lawn seeds are best planted at the very beginning of spring.

4.) Keep your flowers deadheaded. It keeps the plants’ blooming which is always a bonus. More importantly it keeps them from going dormant. Unless it is natural for them to do so, plants do not do well if they prematurely go dormant for winter during summer.

5.) Prune your trees and bushes. Now is a great time to cut out dead and diseased sections of trees and bushes. They are easy to identify, pests are more noticeable and you do not have to worry about identifying or worrying about cutting out new growth.

While the work is never done in the garden, much like raising children, the hot mid-afternoon’s provide a perfect time to sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Do you have any tips to add?

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