When the sun starts to blaze down, these summer gardening tips will help keep your garden thriving and happy.
Summer growing can be tricky — especially in warmer climates — but it’s possible to have a successful (and delicious) harvest. It’s about knowing what to do to beat the heat.
Follow these six summer gardening tips to sidestep heat troubles and have a happy, healthy growing season.
1. Watering x 2
Heat does the same things to plants that it does to humans: it dehydrates you. So, keep watering! Here is a little video to give you some tips on watering your container gardens in the heat of the summer.
In the fullness of summer, you might need to water more than you expect — sometimes twice a day. So check your plants regularly for thirst. To tell if your plants need to be watered, stick a thumb in the soil. If it’s dry, water away! If it’s wet or damp, let it be.
The best time to water is early morning and early afternoon. This will help avoid any mildew or mold formation. That being said, if your plant is wilting and dehydrated, just give it a drink — no matter the time of day.
PRO TIP: Watering directly onto the soil, nearer to the roots, can help plants absorb water more quickly and avoid evaporation.
2. Feed Your Garden
More sun means more frequent watering…which means that summer gardens tend to lose nutrients more quickly. And, as we know, getting plants the food it needs to survive is as important as sun or water.
Fertilizers typically contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. All are vital nutrients for your plants, but when temperatures soar, too much nitrogen can scorch your plants. One of our favorite ways to feed your plants is to mix up some crushed egg shell and coffee grounds and put 1/2 cup every few weeks on your garden.
PRO TIP: Any time you handle fertilizer, wash your hands afterwards!
3. Pest Control
Summer is breeding grounds for pests. Our tip? Know your friends and know your enemies. Ladybugs, bees, praying mantises, and spiders are good bugs. Aphids, slugs, and Japanese beetles should be avoided.
When you have unwanted pests, you can turn to pesticides, but do so carefully. Always choose the least harmful pesticide first. A DIY pesticide is a cheap and safe option.
Mix 1 Tbsp cooking oil with a generous squirt of dish soap in a spray bottle. Add water and test on your plant before spraying.
PRO TIP: Be sure to spray the back of the leaves! They’re popular hiding spots for pests.
4. Harvest- Keep Picking
Trim your herbs regularly so they will continue to produce throughout the summer. Pinch the stems of any blooms from your herbs, all the way back to the main stem. Crops like beans and zucchini will stay in high production if you harvest regularly.
PRO TIP: Wear a hat, your future self will thank you.
Now that the weather has warmed, it’s time to refresh your containers, pull out cool-season crops and plant some heat-loving favorites. Some of our favorite heat loving herbs include: basil, chives, lemon grass, and thyme. Summer is also a great time to plant radishes, be sure to water frequently and you can expect to start harvesting within a month. We are also big fans of cucumber and okra, both do well in the summer sunshine.
6. Morning Sunlight Is Best
Container gardens can be easy to move, and when temperatures are reaching 90 degrees and hotter, it’s smart to arrange your container gardens so they only receive morning sunlight until about noon. This can dramatically decrease the scorching of your plants’ leaves and blooms.
Use these tips to beat the summer heat and flourish in the sun. The extra effort will make your summer harvests taste all the better!
Need more info? Our in-house growing expert Brie Arthur tells you what and how to grow in the heat of summer here.