Summer is here – finally! And for many gardeners this means a break from the spring flurry of gardening work. For me, this means the veggie garden is planted and the grass cutting chores are beginning to slow down. So what am I looking forward to as summer arrives?
Wash and Repot
This is the perfect time to bring those houseplants outdoors and give them a good cleaning with a gentle spray from the hose. This removes dust and debris that builds up on the leaves over the winter. It also provides an opportunity to flush the soil to remove buildup. To prevent scalding and windburn, I place my washed plants in a protected, shady spot to dry.
I also find cool summer mornings a great time to repot those houseplants in need of a roomier planter. Naturally, repotting outdoors keeps my house cleaner, but it also provides the perfect opportunity to scrub up old planters without running dirt down my sink drains. And while I have the plants outdoors in bright light, I check for pests, prune and remove any dead plant debris.
Summertime is also perfect for planning landscape makeovers. This can be done from the comfort of my lawn furniture as I drink my morning coffee. As I look around my backyard, I take note of what works and what needs improvement.
With fall being the ideal time to move many plants, planning a garden redesign in the summer gives me months to acquire the materials I need. With time to spare, I can shop for bargains and take advantage of sale prices. I also browse the local nurseries for clearance plants. Saving money here and there makes bigger projects more affordable.
Early summer is also the time to mark those spring bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, that need moved or divided in the fall. I simply insert a fiberglass rod into the midst of the dying leaves to mark their location. I prefer using green rods as these blend in better, but in a pinch I’ll grab an orange driveway marker.
The best part of summer is, of course, the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies that can be harvested. It’s definitely time to fire up the grill and leave char marks on my homegrown veggies. My favorites to grill include zucchini, root veggies and corn on the cob.
To me, veggies just seem to taste better when grilled outdoors. The grill produces a dry heat which cooks vegetables quickly. It enhances their flavor and retains moisture. Plus, the high heat sears the outer surface and I don’t get the sogginess that sometimes happens when I cook vegetables indoors on the electric range.
And what better way to top off a grilled meal than with a fresh fruit pie. From strawberries to apples, there’s always something in season during the summer. And as I again retreat to my comfy lawn furniture with pie in hand to watch the sunset, I can’t help but think that this is what summer gardening is all about.