Welcome to the latest post in this series, looking at quick gardening jobs you can fit into a busy schedule. This time I’m looking at ways to stay on top of your summer garden.
Things have certainly warmed up in the last couple of weeks, and I’m really enjoying my garden now the summer plants are bursting into life. I think the ‘little and often’ approach is best for gardening at this time of year; keeping on top of the garden through little jobs seems to keep everything looking good much more effectively than carving out a few hours to blitz it. It’s an added bonus that gardening this way is perfectly suited to being short on time.
Here are some ideas for ten minute summer gardening jobs you can tackle now to keep your garden looking great this summer.
Plant summer bedding
This is the perfect time to give your garden a shot of colour with summer flowering bedding plants in containers, borders and hanging baskets. Supermarkets, garden centres and DIY stores are overflowing with bedding plants at this time of year, so there’s lots of choice. If you’re planting in containers and baskets, try to use good quality compost, and remember to feed your plants with suitable outdoor plant food, because they will quickly exhaust the nutrients in their soil.
Get your watering right
Don’t waste time watering little and often; this encourages weeds and can also cause plants to make roots near the surface, which makes them vulnerable. Instead, water the soil around plants really thoroughly, making little ponds around them so the water can really soak in. Watering this way supports plants for much longer, so you need to water less often – giving you more time to sit back and enjoy your garden. For more tips on effective garden watering in summer check out this post.
Protect plants from slugs & snails
Poor old slugs and snails, they really don’t get much love from us gardeners do they?! Just a couple of them can destroy a batch of seedlings or salad overnight, and it can be really difficult to keep on top of them. There are lots of ways you can try and control slugs and snails in your garden or allotment; broken eggshells, beer traps, copper barriers, slug pellets to name but a few. I’ve found one of the best ways is to regularly check pots and vulnerable plants, moving any culprits far away to another part of the garden (or, if you’re feeling merciless, out in an open space for the birds to snack on – I can never bring myself to do this though!)
Deadhead your flowers
Having spent precious time and money coaxing your plants to thrive, it’s well worth encouraging them to produce as many flowers as possible. Deadheading involves removing any flowers that are drooping, dead or forming seed heads; doing this prevents the plant setting seed, so it produces more flowers. This is the sort of summer gardening job you can potter away at whenever you have a spare minute, and it’s a great one to get the kids involved with too.
Look after wild bird visitors
Don’t assume wild birds don’t need your support in the garden during the summer months. Birds breed in spring and early summer, so by this time of year they are feeding their young and very glad of any extra food you can provide. You’re also giving them a great start on building their energy resources for the colder weather later in the year. And if you can provide a bird bath this is a real lifeline during hot weather – just remember to keep topping it up.
What summer gardening jobs are you managing this month? Let me know in the comments.
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