You’ve been busy all spring trying to get your garden ready for the growing season. Spring is winding down, and summer is almost here. Its time ot switch focus. New Jersey isn’t called the Garden State for nothing. With a little attention, your garden can produce delightful flowers and and veggies all summer long. Here are some tips to manage the heat, weeds and pests during summer months:
1. Get ready to battle some weeds
Like kids on the last day of school, weeds are looking forward to the summer. It’s their time to “shine,” so to speak, as the warm weather tends to bring them out in droves.
One good way to control weeds is through mulching. This is something you might have done earlier in the year, but if you haven’t, it’s not too late.
If you have below 2-4 inches of mulch already in your garden, adding more can help you save water and reduce weeds, which will sap nourishment from your plants if you let them. Visit your nearest New Jersey gardeners supply store to find out more about weed control methods.
2. Remove old foliage and plant new vegetables
Some of the flowers you planted in the spring – tulips and daffodils, for example – will have foliage and leaves that die after a few weeks. When you see leaves begin to yellow, prune them away ASAP to keep infection from spreading.
And the planting season doesn’t end in spring. Many plants do well in the summer months, including celery, peppers, zucchini, beans and corn. The combination of warm soil and long days work together to let these vegetables thrive.
Your local New Jersey gardeners supply center should be able to help you determine which vegetables will grow best in this climate.
3. Give your plants a drink
It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re working outside during the summer. Just make sure your plants are getting enough to drink as well.
If you’re not sure whether your plants need water, simply dip a finger into the soil. If it feels damp or wet, you don’t need to water them.
When growing container plants, try to get in the habit of picking them up after they’ve been watered and when they’re dry. Eventually, you’ll be able to judge whether the plants need to be watered by the difference in weight (wet plants will of course be heavier).
At the height of summer, your container plants may need water as often as twice a day. If you don’t think you’ll be able to stick to this schedule, move them out of the sun. Use the soil test we just mentioned to gauge how often to water trees and shrubs.
Water in the early morning and early afternoon to give your plants time to dry. Getting your foliage wet after dark can lead to mildew.
Finally, aim the water at your soil line. Watering from the air can lead to quick evaporation, meaning your plants won’t get the hydration they need.
4. Pruning your plants
Perennial and annual flowers both need summertime pruning to help them flourish. Pruning dead perennials after their initial bloom can encourage the plant to produce more seeds, while pruning annuals – cutting them back 4 to 6 inches when they begin to wilt – can foster new growth.
5. Separating the good bugs from the bad
Some insects you should welcome into your garden. Bees are the most obvious example of beneficial insects, but don’t forget things like spiders and praying mantises, while also keeping out things like aphids and Japanese beetles. Read our New Jersey gardeners’ supply blog to learn more about how to make your garden a welcoming place for birds, bees and other pollinators.
And if you have additional questions about pest control, weed control or anything else we covered above, visit one of Mendham Garden Center’s three New Jersey locations. Our experts will be happy to help you make the most of your garden this summer.