As we get deeper into the delights of Summer and the hard work of the Spring is beginning to show in your garden, there are a few simple tasks to keep your plants looking fresh and beautiful.
1. Deadhead. A few minutes every day snipping the expired flowers from your beds and containers, will keep them blooming busily all Summer long. Just pinch or cut off the flower stem below the spent flower and just above the first set of full, healthy leaves.
2. Harvest your veggies frequently. Many vegetables should be picked throughout the summer to maintain plant productivity. The time, frequency, and method of harvesting vary depending on species. Many of the root crops like carrots, potatoes and beets, can remain in the garden for several weeks with little effect on their taste. Some vegetables, like summer squash, have to be harvested almost daily. Other plants, such as tomatoes, can be harvested on a weekly basis.
Herbs need to be pinched back frequently so they don't flower and go to seed. That will keep them producing lots of flavourful leaves.
Lettuce, cauliflower and other similar veggies will "bolt" if they're left too long. Once that's happened the leaves become bitter and unpleasant, so pick lettuce while it is young and tender.
3. Water, water and water. Water 2 or 3 times a week and water deeply. The water must go down, down, down to encourage deep roots and get away from the hot soil surface. A great hint to know if you've watered enough is to bury a little cup or can in the garden soil and don’t stop watering until it has collected at least an inch of water in it.
Mulch can help keep the soil underneath cool and damp and can also help inhibit weeds. 2 to 3 inches is the right amount.
Water the ground, not the leaves! And water containers every day.