Carolyn’s Corner: Summer Gardening Tips

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by Richard Plummer, Calgary Gardener

All this rain is perfect to help our gardens flourish and grow. As we hit the mid-season point of the growing season, here are some helpful tips to ensure success.

Whether you have a vegetable or flower garden, here are some simple tips:

  1. Do not let the weeds take over. Create a daily routine each morning when it is cooler to do some simple weeding.
  2. As you approach mid-season, it is time to start moving beets, carrots, possibly tomatoes, and leafy vegetables to give them more room to flourish and spread out. It is best to use the ‘three finger rule’ in spacing plants.
  3. Give your plants a boost. If you use the same beds over and over again for your vegetables, then maybe it’s time for a mid-summer top up. By ‘top up,’ I mean adding a top dressing of compost, aged manure, or a liquid fish fertilizer.
  4. Always remember that water is the critical element. You can buy a rain gauge to ensure that when watering, it is penetrating the soil deeply. The water should be soaking down to 15 cms (6 inches), because that is where the roots of your plants are. Buying a soaker hose is often the best solution for watering. Placing mulch around plants can help you conserve water.
  5. Always be checking for pest insects. Harmful insect infestations can occur quite quickly, so one should remain vigilant. Check the underside of leaves for insect eggs. Most insects like to sleep in, so if you are an early riser, take a small bucket of soapy water to scoop any harmful insects you find into.
  6. Don’t forget about your flower beds. Deadheading flowers should be part of your daily routine when you are out there weeding. Deep watering and adding mulch are also a way to keep your flower beds looking amazing.
  7. Plants in containers require special attention. In hot weather, they might require more water. Frequent watering will also wash away soil nutrients, so you will probably need to fertilize more frequently.