You’ve been a busy gardener. You’ve planned, you’ve gotten down and dirty preparing your soil, you’ve added all the goodies your plants needed, you’ve spent numerous hours pulling weeds and keeping things neat and tidy, you’ve given each plant the best start possible and in turn, they are producing fruit and blooming beautifully for you.
But what happens mid-summer when blooms begin to fade, vegetable plants have produced their crop and are beginning to yellow and in a much needed break (for you), weeds have gotten out of hand? The heat of mid-summer tends to send even hardy gardeners into the air conditioning on humid afternoons and things can get out of control fast. Once plants start to drop off and weeds begin to take over, many enthusiasts loose interest from feeling overwhelmed and seeing their once beautiful garden fading. But bear in mind, your garden is also suffering under the high temperatures and intense sun. It’s important to keep your plants watered to avoid heat stress and keep them producing to their full potential.
Now is a great time to begin planning your mid-summer strategy. There is hope to renew your interest in your garden. Generally, in Ohio, we plant end of May to beginning of June, so mid-summer would fall mid-July to mid-August.
Start with a new plan. You may want to refresh mulch around trees and in flower beds. Often times, a simple fluffing of mulch will do the trick, just to spruce things up. Pulling weeds early in the morning or late evening when the temperatures have lightened a bit will help. Do a little at a time, daily if possible, or hire some neighborhood kids to help, and before you know it, your beds will be neat and tidy once again. Pull spent plants in the vegetable garden. They are done producing and there is no need watching them turn brown and die out. Dead head flowers to help them continue to bloom. If plants are dead, pull them out.
There are several flowering plants that can be replanted mid-summer and even a few vegetables that can be planted or replanted for early fall crops. In Ohio, temperatures remain warm into September, so if replanting in July, plan for harvest mid-late September. Look for harvest times on vegetables and maturity on flowering plants and plan accordingly.
Mid-summer is also a great time to give extra attention to potted plants and hanging baskets. Work on a Faerie Garden, or add ornaments to your garden beds. Photographing your beautiful blooms and abundant harvests and sharing to social media and with friends can boost your enthusiasm as well and offer long lasting imagery that will encourage you to keep up with your gardening.
Talking to other gardeners helps refresh your own enthusiasm as well, so maybe look for a gardening club to join, or find groups online to chat with. This is also a good excuse to meet your neighbors. Maybe they have a garden too and discussing plants is always a good way to bond with another gardener, and exchange ideas. If you find you have an abundance of a certain vegetable that you won’t be able to use yourself, it’s always uplifting to give freshly grown produce to your friends and neighbors. They will appreciate it and it will help renew your own interest in your garden during this time.
If you’re a first time gardener, it’s easy to become discouraged mid-summer. Gardening is a lot of work and dedication, and watching it come to it’s end can be disheartening. Often times our first garden is less than what we had imagined and dreamed of. Now that you have gone through the trouble of getting your garden started, mid-summer is a good time to make additions such as fences and decorative ornaments. This will only make next season’s garden even more exciting and will help revive your enthusiasm. Now that you have some experience, it will be easier to know what additions you’d like to make going forward.
So, don’t let the mid-summer gardening blues get you down. There is still plenty of enjoyment to be had from your garden this year. Be creative and find time to enjoy the splendors of all your hard work.
Until next time, Happy Planting!
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” ~Audrey Hepburn