It’s Summer time and our gardens are flourishing from the increased temperatures and longer days but it’s time for some Summer Gardening.  Hearts and minds are heading to lazy days by the water, Christmas with family and friends and lazy afternoons in a hammock in a shady part of the garden.  But before we get down to the relaxing part, we just have a few garden jobs to do preferably in the cool of early morning or late afternoon of course!

Repot any plants outgrowing their containers by first trimming roots with secateurs, allowing for new roots to sprout into fresh, good quality potting mix.   Water crystals are essential for extra water holding capacity for the hot Summer months.

Divide any multiplying plants like Agapanthus, Bromeliads, Liriope and other lily varieties, with a clean, sharp knife or loppers, giving you new, free plants to spread throughout your garden.  Consider planting a pot of Agapanthus and Hippeastrum together to ensure months of beautiful flowers.

What about the Lawn

Pull out any remaining Bindii, hopefully before seeding its prolific prickles.  It’s easily pulled out with a little loosening of the surrounding soil or poisoned with vinegar, doused with boiling water or if needed a chemical.  The trick is to stay on top of them each season to reduce the amount that you have the following year.

Lawn Grub has hatched and may now be munching through the roots of your lawn, creating yellowing, dying patches.  Birds frequenting your backyard like Magpies and Kookaburras will usually take care of these pests in a feast or two.  The downside of domesticated pets in our lives is they can be repellent to our bird friends, in which case a dousing of poison may be necessary if your lawn is important to you. Bad cases of Lawn Grub will see your lawn reduced to dirt to be mindful to act sooner rather than later.  Remember to keep pets off the lawn for a couple of days after treatment so a staged approach may be necessary.

Maintain For Good Shape

In the predominant growing season of Summer, it’s time to do any major pruning of shrubs.  Adhere to the rule of cutting back only a third of the plant at a time, leaving adequate foliage for photosynthesis, avoiding shocking the plant also.  Shrubs will then put energy into sprouting new, fresh growth, bouncing back from the reshaping.  It is on the appearance of new shoots that you can reduce the plant further if needed, again waiting for signs of recovery before further action.  Finally, feed with a good quality seaweed emulsion, the perfect medicine to avoid shock.

Extend your open entertaining areas with additional garden design, installing garden beds, creating shade, views and vistas in the urban and suburban landscape.  Or renovate existing bordering gardens with modern, fresh plantings and mulch.  To formalize your gardens, consider the addition of a top layer of pine bark or chip to your mulch layer.  This provides the necessary blanket, keeping weeds to a minimal for many years to come.

Summer brings storms and in some instances lots & lots of rain.  Maintaining your property will reduce the risk of flooding.  If you are new to your property, take a walk around in the rain to assess just where there might be drainage issues that need your attention.

Let’s Get Productive.

The Summer veggie garden is hot, productive, thirsty and hungry.   Utilize the cooler times of the day to give your productive garden some love and care with weeds growing rampart in warmer temperatures.  Providing some shade, adequate nutrients and water, harvesting fruit and vegetables with plant needs adjusted to suit the season.

Protect tender leaves susceptible to sun burn with a shade structure overhead, shielding them from the hottest part of the day.  Hammer in timber or bamboo stakes, thread with garden twine and shade cloth draped over the top and fixed to the stakes with nails, staples or the humble clothes peg.  This structure will have the added bonus of slowing down transpiration, the process of water uptake by plants, slightly lowering their need for extra water.

Home Grown BeetrootHarvest vegetables planted in late Winter, early Spring like potatoes, cucumber, beetroot and the last of zucchini.  Give consideration to future plantings of Winter crops before planting, leek, tomato, eggplant, corn, capsicum, snake beans and salad greens. If you don’t have an existing pumpkin vine setting fruit, then consider putting one in before the end of the year to ensure good fruiting before Winter. They do require a lot of room but are incredibly productive, producing enough for a family for the best part of the following year.  Dry the fully formed pumpkin in the sun turning regularly to harden the skin.  This will ensure good storage through the months ahead.

With above average rainfall forecasted for the north eastern states, ensure your patch has good drainage.  Raised garden beds ensure the plants roots are not sitting in water reducing rot during long periods of unsettled weather.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to make time to sit back, enjoy Summer but most of all enjoy your garden and all that it brings!


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