In the southern states the summer garden season is over for some people. I find this sad, because with a little care, a garden can continue to grow and produce right up till fall planting.
Planting in Rotation to Extend the Growing Season
Around here we usually have about four rotations of crops by June. First the very early spring things like onions and peas which go in in February, then greens and broccoli in March and everything else in April. By the time late April arrives and we’re planting tomatoes, peppers and melons, the peas and some of the greens are done, so we pull them and make room for the warmer weather crops. When that mid-season planting of greens and brocoli are done, around June, we pull them and plant a crop of blackeyed peas. These grow and produce till fall when we pick the last of the dried peas and turn the plants into the soil.
More Summer Garden Tips: Mid-Summer Gardening Tips: Hot Sun, Dry Soil
Mulching to Keep Plants Cool and Soil Warm
Gardeners everywhere mulch and with all different mediums. My favorite is oat straw. It comes tightly baled and when the strings are cut the mulch comes off in thick dense flakes. I try very hard not to break these up other than to tear into strips to fit between plants. Keeping it packed and dense makes a huge difference in how much water the straw holds and how damp it keeps the earth. It also works fabulously at keeping out the weeds, which works nice cause no one wants to weed when it’s 102 degrees outside!
More About: Summer Mulches to Keep Moisture in Your Soil
Using Row Covers to Shade Plants
Sometimes the scorching sun is just too much for your plants and you need to shade them. We built our garden beds with brackets for hoops. In the early spring we cover the beds with a heavy plastic to keep our plants safe from the frost. In the summer we can re-install the hoops and cover with a light-medium row cover cloth to shade the plants from the sun. A little shade can make a big difference in the temperature around your plants. Just be sure not to close up the ends or the bees and butterflies will be locked out and your crops won’t get pollinated!
Have a tiny little garden space like me?
Don’t Forget the Gardener!
Sometimes we garden in the heat because we have to and we forget about the effect it can have on our well-being.
Don’t forget to:
- stay hydrated
- make use of shade
- wear a wide brimmed hat
- wear protective clothing