8 Tips for the Perfect Summer Garden

Struggling to keep your garden in shape this summer? We’ve hand-picked the best summer gardening tips from Cary Magazine’s Garden Adventurer L.A. Jackson, to keep your flowers blooming into the fall.

But before you dig your hands into fresh soil, think about keeping your fingernails dirt free. This can be achieved by dragging your nails across a bar of non-gooey soap to effectively seal them, and then scrubbing the soap out with a scrub brush after you finish digging.

For those who want to skip the soap, light gloves are always an option, and the one Jackson prefers.

Early summer

  1. Herbs will be maturing in the summer, so make sure to plant and harvest them now to take advantage. The best time to get the freshest smells and tastes from these homegrown beauties is in the morning, before the sun gets too harsh. Flavors are at their peak just before the herb’s flowers bloom.
  2. If your garden is seeing too many weeds this summer, take care of them early, making sure to pull these unwanted plants out before their flowers go to seed rather than after.
  3. Planting pumpkin seeds now will ensure round, full pumpkins in time for carving in October.
  4. If pets are getting a little too friendly with your growing garden, sprinkle a small amount of ground black pepper around their favorite spots. A couple cute sneezes later, dogs and cats will steer clear.

August and beyond

  1. August is a good time to plant fall-blooming beauties such as helianthus, helenium and rudbeckia, as well as veggies that will thrive in deep into autumn — lettuce, kale, turnips and spinach.
  2. The heat wave of August will bring out the many little pests to your garden, in particular, aphids, flea beetles and spider mites. If these bugs are bugging your plants, a few applications of garden-friendly insecticidal soap should do the trick.
  3. This is also the time to start potting former outdoor beauties like coleus, geraniums, impatiens, wax begonias and fuchsias, so they can bring some color to the inside of your house during the winter months. Just make sure they continue to get enough water!
  4. And during the hottest days of the growing season, remember to take care of garden chores in the early morning or late afternoon to get some relief from the sun. It will make your gardening experience much more enjoyable, and much less sweaty!

Have questions for Jackson about tending to your garden this summer? Email him at lajackson1@gmail.com.


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