As the weather warms, here are some tips to keep that midsummer gardening going full tilt!

Don’t Let Weeds Take Over

Weeding and thinning should be at the top of the to-do list. Plants can’t grow well if they are being crowded out, and weeds are especially tough competitors.

  • Take a half hour early each morning while it is still cooler outside to pull any weeds that have invaded the garden.
  • Attack weeds methodically row by row, or go for the big guys first and work your way down to the smaller offenders.
  • Eventually there will be few or no weeds left, at which point keeping up with newly emerging ones is an easier job.

Thin Out Plantings

For early or mid-summer plantings of beets or carrots, summer is the time to give them room to form their fat roots.

  • Usually try for a spacing of two finger-widths between plants.
  • Eat any tiny carrots that have formed. They are exceptionally sweet and good in a salad, and the beet greens are delicious and full of nutrients.

Fertilize for a Boost!

Plants, like people, need to not only drink water but also eat for nourishment! By midsummer, the soil may be getting depleted of nutrients. Give plants a mid-season feeding by side-dressing with compost or aged manure, or give them a drink of liquid fish emulsion fertilizer or manure tea when you water.

Watering is Critical

Watering is critical in mid- and late summer when the heat is high. Put out a rain gauge to determine just how much water plants are getting from those summer thunderstorms: one to two inches a week is optimum. If the garden is not getting that much in rainfall, it is time to do some deep watering.

  • Dig down about six inches, and see how dry the soil is at that level. This is where most of a plant’s roots are, and this is where the water needs to be.
  • Soaker hoses are best.
  • Water gently to allow the water to soak in and not run off.
  • To reduce the amount of watering, consider mulching around plants, which will help to keep down the weeds and keep soil moisture from evaporating too quickly. Straw, grass clippings, pine needles, shredded leaves, and even newspaper will help to suppress weeds.

April-June Commercial Winner

The commercial Beautification award for April-June is Precision Sports Medicine and Orthopedics at 831 1st Street North. Precision Sports maintains an attractive landscape especially  when the crepe myrtles are blooming in July and August. The property is well maintained, with the hedge in front neatly trimmed.

April Residential Winner

The Ward 3 home of Rodney and Helen Rardin at 1821 Apache Way is the Residential Beautification Board winner for April. The home features a well-manicured lawn with several bordered beds with colorful blooms and fresh mulch. The front of the home is bordered by neatly trimmed bushes that add color and interest to the home’s front elevation.

May Residential Winner

The May Residential Beautification Board winner is the beautiful Ward 4 home of Stephen and Christine Hutchens at 321 Sterling Manor Circle. This lovely home features an exquisitely manicured lawn accented with sculpted beds planted with Spirea, Cleyera, Camellias, Witch Hazel, various perennials, Day Lillies, Abelia, a Chaste Tree, Beauty Berry, Tea Olives, Gardenias, and Ornamental Blueberry bushes.