We are off to a great season here. My flower and vegetable garden is really coming into its own and it looks like we will have a bumper fig harvest this year too. The zinnias and sunflowers are just so beautiful and so welcomed. One would think that after all these years of growing I won’t get so excited, but I do. And thankfully our customers feel the same way.
The heat of summer is exactly what jump starts warm-season annuals. In fact, it’s what they live for. The hot conditions make it tough on those tending the garden and even discourages us from getting the job done—but don’t fall into that hole! As a person that doesn’t particularly like to work in the heat, I have some tips that have helped me stay on top of garden tasks even in the heat of summer. The reality of summer is the garden will go hog wild if you let it go and then the job just gets bigger and harder and its getting hotter. This sadly is the end of the story for many wanna-be gardeners.
Here are some of the ways I beat heat:
- It maybe too late for this one: don’t plant more than you can take care off.
- I prefer getting up and outdoors at 6 am and being done before the heat gets started. Have you ever sat on the back porch at 8 am sipping coffee feeling smug because you’ve already done the garden job for the day? It’s awesome.
- I always eat the ugly frog first, the hardest and worst job is done first thing.
- Better for most of us to do two-to-three 60 minute chore times in the garden than one 4-hour grueling session. Short and sweet is the ticket and you get more done too.
- Don’t miss your date with garden maintenance. Plants grow (weeds and your plantings) much faster in summer. It doesn’t take but a couple of days to lose control and sadly most don’t ever regain it.
- If you must work at dusk– prepare for biting insects like mosquitoes. Wear appropriate clothing or spray yourself before hitting the garden. Nothing ends a job quicker or with more frustration then swatting pests.
- I head to the garden to harvest or to do chores, I never mix the two. Finish one before starting another.
- Wear a hat and drink more water than you think you need. I drink water before I get hot and tired– it really helps to prevent that feeling. Eating a snack with protein can give you what you need to finish the job.
- The easiest weeds to remove are “little ones” –gardening words to live by.
- If I am working with someone in the garden, I generally don’t chat– slows you down and wastes needed energy. I chat in the shade once the job is done.
Something else that summer starts to reveal about now; just how well the garden is setup for the lowest amount of care. Every year I have at least one major fail on my farm. Each day as I walk past it, I think to myself, “if I would have done fill in the blank, I wouldn’t have that problem now.” Did you have a fail? I love hearing how others miss the boat too!
If you’d like to learn more about lower garden maintenance, checkout my book, Vegetables Love Flowers. The book is a big snapshot of how I maintain and prevent problems in my gardens as well as growing cut flowers to benefit the veggie patch! As always my signed books ship for free!
Summer is here—keep it cool!
Lisa Mason Ziegler. Founder of The Gardener’s Workshop and Flower Farming School Online . Author of Vegetables Love Flowers, Cool Flowers, and The Easy Cut-Flower Garden . Connect with Lisa on Facebook and Instagram !