Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Summerize" Your Garden

With portions of the U.S. having just experienced freeze warnings it probably seems premature to be worrying about getting your garden ready for summer. Many articles are written about getting your garden ready for the winter, however for those of us that live in areas with hot, predominantly dry summers, “summerizing” could be even more important than winterizing your garden. I recommend focusing on three tasks; weeding, planting and mulching.

While I will pull a weed anytime of the year, this is an especially good time to do so while there is still some natural moisture in the soil. Getting the entire weed out is easier and the disturbance this causes will be less traumatic to nearby plants. Many weeds have not gone to seed yet, so you will be reducing next season’s weed seed load as well.

If your late winter/early spring annuals are getting tired, you should replace them with summer color now. This will give the new plants some time to get established before the heat hits. If your spring annuals still look good, you can get some 4 inch summer color and sneak them in around your existing plants instead of ripping them out. This will give your summer color time to get established and still enjoy your early color until it gives out.

Most important in this list, mulch! Mulch does a lot for your garden. It helps keep the moisture that we have in our soils from evaporating, reducing the need for supplemental watering. It provides “air conditioning” for your plant’s roots by keeping the soil cooler. It helps control weeds and makes those that do come up easier to pull and it helps improve the texture and composition of your soils.

If you attend to these three tasks now, you should enjoy the benefits of a lovely and easily maintained garden all summer long.

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