Summer is a beautiful and exciting time to watch your container vegetable garden thrive. However, it can also be a challenging time to grow. Heat, pests, weeds, and storms all pose problems to the summer container vegetable garden — and each requires a unique solution to solve it.
With the right know-how, you’ll be able to work through these obstacles and watch your garden grow towards a successful harvest.
Here are the top 6 common summer garden problems and their solutions.
1: Prolific Weeds
Weeds are often a common problem in summer gardens. At best, they are nuisances that steal valuable nutrients from your main garden crop. At worst, they can choke out your garden completely and prevent your plant from producing.
Solution: The best practice is preventative practice. Avoid weeds by applying a deep layer of mulch in the spring. This will help prevent weeds from growing by the base of your garden where they can do the most harm. Once they sprout, pull them immediately — don’t wait! If they seed, they’ll spread and do greater damage.
If this doesn’t work, try spraying an organic herbicide on the weeds.
2: Aphids Attack
Aphids are one of the most dangerous pests to garden. A tiny bug that attracts in colonies, they’re incredibly common and attracted to nearly all plants.
Solution: First, attract ladybugs to your garden (or purchase them). A single ladybug can eat up to 5,000 aphids in its lifetime, making them the ideal natural aphid repellent. If this isn’t enough, spray aphids with a hose or with a mild insecticidal soap.
3: Inconsistent Watering
Summer can be tricky in terms of watering practices. With a wide variation of weather (burning heat to summer thunderstorms), you’ll need to keep a careful eye on your garden to determine how and when to water your plant.
Solution: If you are experiencing a hot and arid summer, mulch to retain moisture and keep a close eye on your garden’s needs. Test the soil temperature and moisture regularly with your thumb and be sure to water early in the morning or at dusk to avoid evaporation.
If you’re experiencing many summer storms, move your garden indoors or under shade when needed — especially if said storm involves intense wind or hail. Although rainwater is the best source of water for your garden, overwatering can be equally damaging to your garden.
4: Slug Invasion
Slugs (and snails) are soft-bodied pests that bother gardens during spring and summer. They can be particularly annoying and, while it’s successful to handpick them off plants, it’s not pleasant to.
Solution: Lay crushed eggshells around the base of the plant. It will deter soft-bodied pests and fertilize your garden in one go. If you want some help we wrote a piece on how to use eggshells in the garden.
5: Rabbit and Deer Neighbors
While they’re not usually a problem in fall and winter, rabbits and deers can be real bothers during the spring and summer time of year. As larger animals, they’re not easy to deter and can do real damage to your garden in a few bites.
Solution: The only way to repel rabbit and deers from your garden is to build a fence. Deer require a fence about 3 meters to successfully deter them. For rabbits, build a fence about 1 1/4 meter high that goes 45 cm deep into the ground (to avoid burrowing).
6: Knowing When to Harvest
Hopefully, your summer gardens offer several harvests. Knowing exactly when to harvest your garden can be hard — and it depends on the type of veggie you’re growing.
Solution: If you are growing with Gardenuity this is the perfect time to reach out to your Grow Pro partner, they are always ready to answer any questions you have and celebrate every harvest with you.
Ask your neighbor!
Your friends are a great resource for discovering when a vegetable might be ready to harvest.
Otherwise, go by whether or not it looks like what you find at the grocery store. This usually is a great indicator of whether something is ready to harvest or not.
Beginning your summer garden? Here are the best vegetables to grow in summer.