Tips For A Thriving Summer Garden

With the arrival of summer in the greater Chicago area, it’s time to unleash your green thumb and transform your outdoor space into a vibrant oasis. However, our area’s unique climate and conditions require specific strategies to ensure gardening success. Here are some invaluable tips for nurturing thriving gardens this summer.

1. Water wisely:

Summers can be hot and dry, making proper watering essential. Water deeply and infrequently to encourage deep root growth, preferably in the early morning or late afternoon to minimize evaporation. Monitor soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly.

2. Embrace mulching:

Combatting moisture loss and weed growth is crucial in the summer. Apply a layer of organic mulch around plants to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. Be sure to look for quality mulches. The product should first describe what it is made of, not what color it is dyed. Hardwood bark mulch is great for beds and straw and leaf compost does a nice job in your veggie gardens.This simple step will help keep your plants healthy and reduce the need for frequent watering.

3. Select heat-tolerant plants:

Choose plants that can handle the scorching summer heat. Opt for varieties like some of our favorites: Sedums, yarrow and most salvias are great drought tolerant perennials. While Vinca, Portulaca and begonias are great examples of heat and drought tolerant annuals. These resilient beauties thrive in arid conditions and bring color and texture to your garden while withstanding the climate.

4. Create shade:

Protect your plants from excessive sunlight and heat by strategically providing shade. Consider using shade cloth, umbrellas, or planting taller varieties nearby to create natural shade during the hottest parts of the day. This will shield delicate plants and prevent scorching or wilting.

5. Regular pruning and deadheading:

To encourage continuous blooms and maintain plant health, don’t forget to deadhead spent flowers and prune dead or damaged foliage. This will redirect energy towards new growth and ensure your garden remains vibrant and abundant throughout the summer season. “Think about how much energy the heat takes from us, well it does the same for the plant, so we want to try to make sure the plant is using up the energy as effectively as possible,” Clark Hudmon.

6. Avoid High nitrogen fertilizers:

If you decide to feed your plants look to use organic or low nitrogen fertilizers. When a plant feeds on nitrogen it will need water to drink it down with. If that is not available to them it will cause burning of the plant.

By following these summer gardening tips tailored for our area’s unique climate, you’ll be well-equipped to cultivate a beautiful, thriving garden. With proper watering, mulching, plant selection, shade provision, and regular maintenance, your green oasis will flourish even in the face of the city’s scorching summer temperatures. So grab your gardening tools, embrace the warmth, and watch your garden bloom this summer!

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