Summertime in the garden, let’s chat about some things that happen in the garden that you can do during the summer.
So one of the big things in the summertime is monitoring and this happens all throughout the growing season. But in the summer, things really start to happen. So you want to be going at least weekly, sometimes daily, and just looking at your plants closely, checking the undersides of the leaves, seeing if there are any pest problems, looking at your tree bark, looking down at the soil.
We just want to get on top of things before they become a problem. Checking soil moisture, checking plant health, just leaf color and flowering and everything. Some things may start to need to be staked up or tied up like tomatoes this time of year. If you just learn to walk through your garden regularly and you see things that need doing, this is also the time of year.
At some point I often notice that in the spring, I’ve planted things, not that much is happening, but then eventually the heat hits and the rain comes and boom, things start to happen. At some point, it starts to feel like our garden is gardening us. And what I mean by that is the weeds come. You need to keep on top of the weeds. Hopefully, you have a mulch that does a lot of that for you. But in some cases, like I know in my garden, there are some parts that I plant so densely I can’t get in there with a hoe. I need to hand weed. There are other parts that I may have planted in rows and I can use my hoe there. I may not get all of the roots out with the hole, but it’s very quick. It’s a good compromise. Pests, insect pests and diseases, tend to come in the summer with the heat.
Everything kind of happens in the summer. And so we just want to be checking for that. Most of our pest management is spent on prevention. Once you get a really healthy garden, you’re not going to have many pest problems. But until that point, you want to be checking things out, monitoring and be ready to make your own homemade insecticide, maybe with some garlic and some cayenne pepper or pull out something you’ve purchased like a neem oil or an insecticidal soap, just using these things sparingly. Some birds may start to come for your fruit this time of year. So bird netting or whatever you do, this is the time of year to get that happening. Fertilizing happens in the summer, too. It happens all throughout the growing season. But in the summer, our plants are often losing. They don’t have enough energy to really be optimally healthy and to produce a really good crop there, especially if our soil is not great. They just are running out of that energy. So coming in regularly with some kind of fertilizer.
My main fertilizer is an inoculant and fertilizer. So effective microorganisms, liquid kelp, ocean water, molasses, occasionally some fish, some compost tea coming in at least monthly, sometimes even weekly, and spraying the soil and the plants and everything and just make sure they have what they need to produce an optimally healthy crop. There’s not much pruning that happens in the summer, maybe a little bit. If you see some something damaged or dead, you can prune it a little bit of trimming if you have perennials or annual flowers that you want to keep blooming and looking nice. You might deadhead them to keep them producing flowers. You might have some plants that you don’t want to flower like lettuces and other greens and herbs like basil. You want to prune those, trim those before they go to flower because that’s when they start to get bitter. So you want to prune those? Yeah. Before that happens, just make sure if there are any seeds you want to save, that you allow some things to flower because that’s where the seed comes from.
Summer is the main harvest time. And yes, we can harvest some things all throughout the year. But summer is when things get real and we have to get on top of the harvest. You may start to thin certain crops like carrots and beets, and that allows you to start enjoying them now while also making room for the rest of them to grow to the size that they want to grow. There are many fruiting things that you want to harvest regularly to encourage them to keep fruiting like beans, tomatoes, squash, things like that. Just keep picking them and eating them and they’ll keep going. We want to cut some herbs just before they flower. And if you want to dry your herbs, that’s the perfect time to cut them. This time in the summer before they before they flower. Towards the end of the summer, we dig our garlic and our potatoes.
This time is also when we do a lot of preserving – tomato sauce, pesto, applesauce, whatever you do.
So this kind of becomes an overwhelming time in the garden. But it’s also a fun time when you’re eating fresh meals from the garden all throughout the summer. So, yeah, it’s good to stay on top of that, get out there every day and do some harvesting. And let’s not forget planting in the summer. There’s a lot of planting that can happen in the summer, if you’re keeping on top of the weeding and you’re thinning out things, you may find areas in your garden where you can plant something and that can be lettuces and other greens are great to stick in to places, herbs, pole beans, carrots, beets. Well, really, as long as you have three months until the first frost, you can plant pretty much anything.
In mid to late summer, we start planting our fall garden. Well, that’s many of those things. Lettuces, herbs, carrots, beets, maybe some peas, some brassicas like broccoli. We may plant some full flowering bulbs in the summer like crocuses and dahlias. We plant our garlic towards the end of the summer and then we harvest it the following summer. You can plant garlic in the spring, but it’s it’s quite small at harvest. So if you can do it the summer before. And then cover crops too, if you are going to plant some cover crops, that happens towards the end of the summer, usually a mixture of grasses and legumes, maybe some other things thrown in there This kind of happens right when you’re harvesting everything else. Sometimes you may not have even harvested yet and you may seed your cover. Summer is definitely a big time where we keep planting things. So that’s summer. We are monitoring our crops. We are dealing with pests and weeds more than any other season in the summer. We are continuing to fertilize our garden, maybe doing a little bit of deadheading and trimming and harvesting. That’s the big one, is harvesting and planting. Lots of planting happens in the summer.