As spring turns to summer, your garden is probably in full bloom. You're kept busying picking bright red tomatoes and crisp green beans - you may even be struggling to come up with new ways to enjoy the fruits of your harvest! To keep your garden growing well into the end of summer and early fall, here are some simple late summer gardening tips:
  • Water early and often. In the dog days of summer, water evaporates quickly, and you don't want your garden to dry out. Water early in the morning so the water can reach the plant's roots before the heat of the day kicks in.
  • Deadhead your flowers as they fade. Your plants spend a lot of energy producing seeds, so save them some of that energy by deadheading flowers as soon as they start to fade so you can keep your flowers blooming into the fall.
  • Raise the blade on your mower. While cutting your lawn short might give you an extra day or two before you need to mow again, it can damage your lawn. Raise your blade a little bit because longer blades of grass help keep the roots cool on hot days.
  • Pull weeds out early. It is easier to pull weeds when they first start to grow than when they establish a root system. Spend a few minutes each day weeding your garden to prevent things from getting out of control.
  • Divide your plants after they flower. Things like day lilies, peonies, and iris should be divided in the late summer after the flowers have stopped blooming. This will make them less likely to succumb to disease and pests.
  • Practice your pruning skills. Pruning doesn't just shape a plant; it also helps it grow thicker and fuller. Give your rose bushes, trees, and shrubs a little love to keep them flowering and growing well throughout the rest of the season.
  • Use grass clippings as mulch. If you still have young plants in your garden, use grass clippings as mulch - just make sure they are free from weeds.
  • Taper back on fertilizer. In the heat of summer, your plants may already be suffering from heat stress or drought, so don't stress them further by packing in the fertilizer - it won't help anyway.
  • Start a compost heap. If you haven't already, the late fall is the perfect time to start a compost heap so you'll have plenty of compost to start your garden again next spring. Use grass clippings and vegetable waste from the kitchen to get started.
  • Think ahead to next year's garden. As the summer comes to an end, think about your year's harvest and what you did and didn't like. It's the perfect time to start leafing through seed brochures to decide what you're going to plant next year.
Your garden is what you make of it and by following these tips, you can continue to enjoy it for weeks yet to come. It doesn't have to be a chore, either - spending a few minutes a day on your garden can keep it weed-free and lush, enabling you to keep enjoying your delicious harvest. Enjoy!

Frugal Village