From the Desk of Ed Hume: Summer Gardening Ideas

July 25, 2011 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

Weeds, slugs, watering, harvesting, and planting head the list of things we can do to improve the appearance of the garden right now.

Here in the northwest, we have had a cool wet spring and early summer resulting in abundant weed growth.  Consequently, we need to take a little extra time to eliminate as many of the weeds as we possibly can before they flower and go to seed and really become a nuisance.  Once a weed goes to seed, you can be contending with the seeds for three years or more.  And the weeds aren’t very pretty!

Our weather has also resulted in an abundance of slugs, as they love the cool, moist weather we experienced in spring.  Soon they will be laying their fall batch of eggs, so right now is an important time to make a sincere effort in eliminating as many as you can.  Slugs can often be found nesting under low foliage in cool, moist areas of the garden, so those are the areas where you want to concentrate your slug control program.

If you have no idea where the slugs are nesting in your garden, let me suggest you do this: Go out at dusk, especially after watering or a light summer rain.  Check to see where the slugs are coming from. Check again in the very early morning and see where the slugs are returning.  Then concentrate your slug control program in those areas.  This method is so much easier than trying to treat the whole garden.

As I mentioned in last week’s article, take time to properly and thoroughly water the garden, especially during hot weather, but don’t waste water and money.  You might want to review this article for watering suggestions.

Begin checking your fruit and vegetables to determine whether they have reach maturity.  Sometimes a day or two can make the difference in whether a vegetable has great flavor or is beginning to lose its fresh flavor and/or tenderness.

Speaking of vegetables, right now is the time to get serious about planting out your fall and winter crops.  Winter lettuce, beets, spinach, carrots, kale, and chard are just a few of the vegetables that you can grow and harvest later this fall and winter.  However, they have to be seeded now.  Of course, winter crops can also be planted/seeded and grown in cold frames too!

This is the time to sit back and enjoy the summer weather and your earlier gardening efforts.  At the same time, though, take a little time to keep the garden looking nice and yielding edibles for you and your family.


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Clip of the Week: Summer Cuttings Ed’s Podcasts: Kale and Cabbage That Flower in the Fall

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