If you planted a garden in the spring, don’t let the summertime heat wither away your crops before the harvest.
Gardening remains popular with Americans well into their golden years. According to the National Gardening Survey, nearly three-quarters of all American households participate in lawn and garden activities.
Taking these simple steps will make the most of your garden!
1. Summer watering
Water your vegetables two to three times a week during really hot weather.
Water an area well for at least one minute to allow the water to get deep into the roots. The main problem at this time of the season is under watering. Check container gardens daily!
Have you seen cracks in the fruit? This happens when water follows a drought, causing the fruit to expand suddenly and split the skin. The way to avoid this is to keep the soil consistently moist.
2. Monitor your July harvest
Keep an eye on your July vegetable garden if you’ve planted carrots, green beans, hot peppers, potatoes, summer squash or tomatoes. The longer peppers remain on the plant, the stronger the flavor. Hot peppers get hotter and sweet peppers become sweeter. For tomatoes, the richest flavor develops when fruits ripen on the vine. Keep animals away by covering with netting.
After harvesting early-maturing vegetables, you can grow some root crops and other vegetables in July and August. Brussel sprouts have a long harvest and can be planted and transplanted in July. Broccoli, cucumber and kale can also be planted in July for a delicious fall harvest.
3. Control pests and problems
Add a birdbath and birdhouse to attract birds to your garden. Birds provide natural insect control by eating bugs and protecting your plants.
Clean up as you harvest and toss overgrown or rotting produce away from the garden. Dying plant matter attracts pests!
Heritage Woods of Minooka, an Assisted Lifestyle Community for the Older Adult, 701 Heritage Woods Drive, Minooka, IL, 60447, 815-467-2837, www.gardant.com/heritagewoodsminooka