Did you suddenly realize summer is here and you are just now thinking about your garden? Life can get hectic. Despite the best of intentions, you may have missed your chance to cultivate the fully home-grown organic garden of your dreams.
Don’t worry. There is always next year for that grown-from-seed garden. This year, take a more practical, time-saving approach. Use the following tips to dive into summer gardening.
Go with ‘Starts’ for Edibles
Mid-summer is too late to really have a chance for seeds. They simply need more time to germinate. Luckily, your local nursery will have started the work for you. You will find a selection of ‘starts’ – seedlings that are between two and six weeks old which are ready to go in the ground. Depending on how mature the starts are, they could begin producing edibles in just a few short weeks!
And, in even better news, many nurseries will have put their starts on sale by now. Because you are buying on the late side of the season, you will want to take a close look at the plants to determine if they are healthy. Evaluate the root system and avoid any plants that appear to have a bound root ball.
Some of the best starts late in the season are tomatoes, peppers, and herbs – especially if you have a place in your garden which gets full sun. Just be sure you’re prepared to water them regularly, as these babies can be very thirsty.
Water in the Morning
While the Pacific Northwest doesn’t face the same water shortages as New Mexico or California, water is certainly a precious resource. Plus, who wants to run up a huge water bill during the summer? By watering in the morning, you can cut down on waste, because there is less evaporation.
Looking for more ways to cut down on water waste? Consider installing a drip system. Drip systems are incredibly efficient. They can also make watering way easier when you automate them.
Prune Roses to Promote a Second Bloom
Did your roses bless you with a beautiful spring bloom? Don’t assume they only have one show in their green stalks. You may be able to coax a second or even a third bloom from your roses. Carefully prune the dead buds, cutting the stalks at an angle just below the dead growth. Water your roses regularly. You may also consider giving them a little extra fertilizer to promote a healthy environment.
Keep an Eye Out for Pests
You will want to be conscious of pest year-round. However, it seems pests can become particularly incorrigible during the summer months. The following critters are among the more common troublemakers in the Pacific Northwest:
- Pillbugs (aka Potato Bugs)
- Black Vine Weevils
- Leaf Beetles
- Stink Bugs
Make sure you are watching your garden for these critters, so that you can stop them before they overtake your outdoor space.
Plant Bugs that Bug Bugs
In addition to using more formal ways to keep bugs at bay, you may also want to plant some plants that deter bugs. This can not only protect your garden, but make your patio a space you will want to spend more time. These bug-bugging plants include:
- Lemon Grass
Start a Fall Vegetable Garden
Want to enjoy your garden’s bounty when summer begins to fade? Plant a fall vegetable garden! Cool-loving plants like broccoli, carrots, lettuce, and spinach can be planted now and enjoyed during the autumn harvest. This gives you something to look forward to as summer fades.
Make sure to give your seeds plenty of fertilizer when you plant. This food is essential to a hearty crop. You will also need to be dedicated to giving them plenty of water in the early days, as the heat from summer can really take hold.
Don’t have a huge space, but still want to have a garden? It’ is possible! Even the smallest of balconies and patios in Seattle and Bellevue can be turned into an outdoor oasis. The key when space is limited is to garden up. Vertical gardening gives you the ability to double and triple your space – by stacking and hanging pots.