If you were like me, you probably started to think about your flower garden in early spring or even late winter! After careful consideration as to location, soil needs, and water distribution, you selected a perfect spot to create your own oasis. Your garden looks beautiful! At least for now. Read on to learn how to keep your garden beautiful by performing a few chores. Here is a beginner’s easy garden checklist for early summer.
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Garden Checklist for Early Summer
Many plants in your garden will grow tall and full. After awhile they will become a little top heavy and start sagging. In order to prevent the look of a droopy plant, place a tripod stake at the base of your plant before it gets too big. Gently guide the plant between the tripod to encourage upright growth.
Disrupt Weed Seedlings
Using a gardener’s hand-held claw rake (Amazon), scratch around the base of plants to lift out and disrupt growth of tiny weed seedlings. If you do this when weeds are only an inch or two tall, you can leave the seedlings on the ground and they will eventually die. If you wait until the weeds are larger, it will be much more difficult to pull them out and you’ll have to pick up and dispose of them making this chore more difficult and time consuming.
Repeat this throughout the growing season to stay on top of weeds.
Deadheading should be done whenever you take a stroll through your garden. This does not require a lot of work. Simply pinch off the dead blossoms of annuals with your fingers or with a hand held clipper, collect the heads, and toss them into your compost bin if they are clear of disease and infection. Cut the spent stem of a perennial blossom at the joint.
Eventually your garden will need to be filled in with colorful annuals. Some early blooming perennials will begin to lose their oomph and beauty and leave gaps in your garden. Simply fill in the area with either full sun, partial sun, or shade annuals (depending on the area) to keep your garden looking fresh and vibrant.
Compost the Soil/Add Miracle Gro
Even the best soils can use a little jolt of nutrients. Adding a layer of compost to the soil and scratching it in with a rake will give your plants a boost of energy to continue growing large and strong. It will also help keep the flowers blooming.
If you do not have any compost, mix granular Miracle Gro with water. Fertilize your potted plants and other annuals and perennials in your garden with the mixture. Be sure to read the instructions on the Miracle Gro label.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to hang a hummingbird feeder and fill it with hummingbird nectar. You do not need to purchase ready made nectar, in fact that is usually loaded with artificial colors and is unhealthy for the birds. Simply add 1/4 cup refined white sugar to a container and add one cup of hot water. Stir the solution until the sugar is dissolved, let it cool to room temperature, then add it to your feeder.
Add some flowers that hummingbirds enjoy. For more information on hummingbirds, click What Flowers Attract Hummingbirds?
Stroll through your garden and look on both the top and bottom of leaves, stems, and blossoms to detect unwanted visitors. They are easier to control if you find the trespassers before they overpower your garden.
Purchase an insect field guide to identify the pests. Once they have been identified and you know where they reside, concentrate on only that specific area. Focus your attack using an organic insecticidal soap (Amazon) to control the population of the insects. Most harmful insects can be controlled by using this soap.
DO NOT randomly spray your garden with insecticides. This will do a lot of unnecessary damage by eliminating good insects and pollinators.
As you stroll through the garden, pick up any garden debris that has accumulated on the garden floor. Such items include:
- Fallen Branches
- Dead Leaves
- Dead Plants
- Pine Cones
Unwanted debris can accumulate any time, but it is more likely to be a problem after a thunderstorm or heavy winds.
Most items can go in your compost bin or pile. However do not add any debris that has died due to disease or has noticeable unwanted insects crawling on the leaves, flowers, or stems. Diseases can last in your pile for quite awhile. Also, do not add any varieties of poison ivy or oak to your pile. This will just continue to grow in your garden after the compost is applied.
Check for Soil Moisture
Simply stick your finger into the soil. If it is dry 2 to 3 inches in depth, it is time to water your plants. Another way to check for soil moisture is by observing your plants; if they’re drooping, they probably need more water.
Be aware of the weather and do not water your plants right before a rainstorm or an extended period of rain.
However, falling rain may not be enough to quench the thirst of your plants. Some plants may be protected by a canopy of trees or bushes or by a structure. Many window boxes do not get thoroughly watered due to the direction from which the rain comes. So use the finger test frequently to keep your plants adequately watered.
Do not overwater your plants. This can cause rot and spread disease. If you are using a drip irrigation system, check the timing so it does not run when it is raining or just after a good soaking.
If you see lots of weeds emerging in your garden and/or the soil drying out faster than predicted, it may be due to lack of mulch. Mulch can thin out through the season causing soil to be exposed to the elements. It is best to keep your garden covered with 2 to 3 inches of good natural mulch. This will keep it evenly moist and weed free. I do not recommend a dyed mulch. Dyes are artificial and can add unwanted chemicals to the soil. Also, black mulch attracts the heat of the sun and can scorch delicate roots. I am all for a more organic and natural look.
Now is the time to prune back wisteria after it has bloomed, cut dead blossoms off of rose bushes, and trim back any overgrown limbs of trees.
When pruning it is best to make a cut with a 45 degree angle right above a joint. Be sure your shears are clean and sharp. Also, when pruning rose bushes such as floribundas or the knockout variety, trim off the dead blossoms at a joint above a stem with 5 leaves.
DO NOT trim any spring flowering bushes such as azaleas or rhododendrons now. They are already producing flowers for next spring. They are best pruned right after they bloom in late spring.
If you planted chrysanthemums in your garden last fall or have them in pots, be sure to keep them trimmed to 8 inches tall until July 15. This will foster a full plant and many blossoms come the fall. Pull out any straggling roots and stems spreading away from the center of the plant. You want them compact to develop into full, gorgeous plants in Autumn.
Prune shrubs that bloom on old wood after they have finished flowering.
Protect Berry Shrubs
Place a netting over shrubs that yield berries. This will keep birds from eating them.
Add a Bit of Whimsy! An Aquatic Oasis
How about adding a fountain to your yard to create that peaceful secret garden that you’ll be anxious to visit after a long days work?
Many fountains are made of durable, long lasting resin. Resin is light weight and easy to move around your garden. You can also opt for a cement fountain. However with both resin and cement, it is best to bring them inside for the winter if temperatures fall below freezing.
If you do not want to go through the expense and bother of installing a garden fountain, create a Tabletop Water Garden.
Tabletop Water Garden
- large waterproof container
- aquatic plants such as papyrus, equisetum, or juncas that can grow in a few inches of water
- shallow pots
- pea gravel
- small living goldfish (optional)
Place the plants in pots with soil.
Cover the soil with pea gravel to keep the soil in place.
Sink the plants, pots and all, into the container filled with water.
To prevent mosquitos from breeding, add a few small goldfish into the water. They will eat the mosquito larvae before the mosquitos eat you.
Be sure to research information on osmosis before you create your pond or aquarium.
Water Garden With Fountain
- large waterproof container
- drill with large bit
- small pump kit for a garden fountain
- aquatic flowers
- bag of pebbles
- a few bricks to stabilize the fountain
- Drill a hole in the side about 2 to 3 inches below the rim.
- Place a few bricks in the bottom of the container.
- Assemble the pump.
- Place the pump in the center of the container on the bottom.
- Feed the hose through the hole.
- Dump a bag of gravel into the container filling it up about half way.
- Fill the container up with water just short of the hole. The hole acts as overflow for rainfall.
- Add aquatic flowers such as water iris, water hyacinth, or rose mallow.
- Secure them with the gravel.
- Turn on pump and enjoy.
Conclusion – Garden Checklist for Early Summer
It’s not that difficult to maintain a beautiful garden. Follow these easy instructions and be diligent. Enjoy the beauty you have created by carefully tending to it and you will experience a gorgeous and serene oasis right in your own backyard.
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