Summer Gardening Tips: Watering
Your garden is growing, your flowers are blooming, and life is good, so what is left to do? A lot of your yard may be on autopilot during the summer months, but it still needs your help to thrive.
Monitor your watering – Watch for stunted growth on any plants from under watering, or fungus on leaves from overwatering. Keep an eye on sprinkler units that may burst in hot weather, causing pooling instead of sending the water to your plants.
Stay on top of weeding to keep unwanted plants from growing large enough to distribute more seeds. When pulling weeds, be sure to pinch at the base of the plant to pull up as many roots as possible to keep them from growing back. Better yet, purchase a hand tool for weeding that you can stick down into the ground and leverage the roots up and out of the earth. If you have stubborn weeds use this pet-safe weed killer recipe in a spray bottle: ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup Epsom salt, and 1/8 cup dish soap.
Got aphids? There are multiple ways to get rid of them without using harmful pesticides. Many people suggest bringing in ladybugs, but they will leave your garden if they're not a native species to your area. If you have a somewhat large species of aphids on your plants, try donning a pair of garden gloves and pinching them off the plants by hand. There are all natural, premixed insecticide soaps available, or you can dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap in a small bucket of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have taken hold.
If you’re finding peck marks in things like your tomatoes, you probably have thirsty birds. When running water isn’t available, some birds know they can peck into fleshy fruit and drink the liquid inside. Try gluing a clean and empty tuna can onto a wooden stake, and drive it into the ground near your plants. Keep it filled with water, and watch your tomatoes thrive while the birds drink from a different source!