Fight the summer gardening blahs
The hot and humid days we have been having sure makes it hard to want to be in the garden. The plants still need tending though, whether you are a flower gardener or a vegetable gardener. I know for myself, I am too hot, too sticky, and just plain sick of gardening. All winter I dream of gardening…what new vegetable I want to try growing or adding a new perennial to my flower beds. I can spend hours flipping through the pages of a seed catalog on those cold, winter days longing for summer and thinking that this summer, ‘I will not tire of my gardens.’ Well, here we are and I hate to admit it, but I am tired of them – the daily work, the bugs, and the fuss. I find it hard to get out there and do what needs to be done.
If you are feeling like me, maybe a list of the things that really should be done this month will help you stay motivated to maintain that beautiful garden you’ve worked so hard for.
1. Now is a great time to sow fall crops of peas, lettuce, spinach, and kale, just to name a few. These plants favor the cooler weather. Be sure to read the back of the seed packet for the number of days to harvest. Note also, that the first frost date is around mid-September in our area.
2. Continue harvesting vegetables and berries. Many plants will continue to produce as long as they are harvested regularly.
3. Avoid pruning shrubs and trees. You could possibly be cutting off next year’s blooms. Pruning now also creates new growth that may fail to harden off in time for cold weather.
4. Keep mulching. This will help cut down on watering bills and will help keep weeds at bay. When mulching around trees, keep the mulch at least 3-4 inches from the trunk; this prevents potential for rot and other unfavorable problems that may occur if the tree is continually damp.
5. Refresh potted plants by giving them a trim. This will encourage new growth.
6. Continue fertilizing annuals and potted plants; however, stop fertilizing perennials. This is not the time to promote new growth in those types of plants.
7. Slow down or stopping water your trees for now. This will help them harden off for winter. Resume watering again mid-September.
8. Cut and dry herbs to be use during the winter months.
9. Begin saving seeds from all of your favorite plants for next year’s planting. You may also want some flowers to reseed themselves, so stop deadheading and let them go into seed. The little birds will love you for that too.
10. Start thinking about and planning your spring garden. Order bulbs now for fall planting.
11. Late August to mid-September is a very good time to aerate lawns.
12. Tomato, pepper, and onion harvest will peak this month …Think SALSA!
13. Too much produce? Donate the extra produce to a local Food Pantry.
14. Prepare house plants to come back indoors. Repot and check for unwanted guests that could come in with them.
15. This is the time to thin Irises. Share extras with a friend.
I know it is all too easy to push garden chores aside, especially with the dog days of summer here and the quickly approaching, new school year starting. Weeds are quick to take over – keep weeding – and the daily watering chores are very necessary, but oh so tiring! I assure you will be happier with your garden if you take a few minutes every day to do little maintenance, but also remember to take time to enjoy your hard work.