15 Summer Gardening Tips | Living the Country Life
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15 Summer Gardening Tips

Keep your plants healthy and productive with these bright ideas!
  • Picking tomatoes

    Although tomatoes will continue to ripen after picking, they become sweeter when left on the vine longer. Many varieties of cherry tomatoes split as they ripen, however, so it's a good idea to pick them as soon as they turn color.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Keep vines up

    As your tomato plants grow, continue to tie the vines up for easy harvesting. Crispy or yellow lower leaves should be removed.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Watch the water

    When tomatoes are in the final stages of ripening, avoid watering too much. Overwatering dilutes the flavor, and can make fruits more susceptible to cracking.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Some (don't) like it hot

    Tomato and pepper plants will often stop producing fruit when temperatures are above 90 degrees. Keep the soil consistently moist during hot weather to prevent blossom drop.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Picking a peck of peppers

    You can pick peppers at any color stage, from green, to red, or anything in between. Sweet peppers will get sweeter the longer they stay on the vine, though, and hot peppers get hotter.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Avoid the burn

    Wear gloves when picking or handling hot peppers, and be sure to wash your hands well before touching your face or using the bathroom. Capsaicin, which gives peppers their heat, can transfer to fabric, so wash clothing and linens that come into contact with peppers right away.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Harvesting herbs

    Pick or cut herbs frequently to prolong the harvest. Once the plants begin to flower, the flavor of the leaves can change.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Preserving herbs

    Dry herbs in a basket or on screens, or hang them upside down in bundles. You can also chop herbs and freeze them in water in an ice cube tray to add to soups and sauces, or blend them with oil in a food processor and freeze in ice cube trays to use in cooking.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Off with their heads!

    Deadheading, or removing faded or dead flowers from the plant, encourages more blooms. Do this regularly to get the most color possible from your flowers.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Care for containers

    Container plantings may need watering twice a day during hot, windy weather, since the soil dries out more quickly.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • More mulch?

    By mid-summer, you may need to replenish the mulch in your gardens, especially straw or grass clippings that break down quickly.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Be on the lookout for bugs

    Watch for aphids (pictured here) and spider mites, and treat with insecticidal soap. If it's especially dry, spider mites may be a big problem. They can also be treated with pyrethrums, a mum extract. Pick tomato hornworms, Japanese beetles and caterpillars off your plants and drop them into soapy water. Add a birdbath and birdhouses to attract birds, which will help cut down on pests. 

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Make watering easier

    Help cut down on evaporation by applying water directly to the soil with soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system. Irrigation timers are helpful if you'll be out of town. Also, it's not too late to start using a rain barrel! Collect that precious rainwater and use it on your garden. 

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Berry pruning

    After this year's raspberry and blackberry crop (including wild berries) is finished, cut fruiting canes to the ground, and heap compost around the remaining canes. 

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018
  • Select your strawberries

    Mark the biggest, most vigorous of your strawberry plants. They will be next year's big bearers. Remove the rest of the plants and runners. Keep your "keeper" plants watered and fertilized.

    Date Published: July 9, 2013
    Date Updated: June 21, 2018

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