In this week's Owning Your Outdoors we have tips for keeping your garden healthy through the summer.
With all of the recent rain, there is a good chance your garden is waterlogged. Our lawn and garden expert, Doug Schroeder from Lewis says you should stay out of your garden until it dries out. If you walk through a wet garden, it will compact the soil. Also, watch the leaves on your plants - especially your tomatoes. If they begin to curl, that is a sign that they've had too much water. Give them plenty of time to dry out before you water them again.
After your garden dries out, one of the most important things you need to do is thin your plants. If you plant row crops you need to thin them to the recommended spacing. Plants need to be properly spaced so that they can get adequate nutrients, moisture and air flow. Thinning your plants does not hurt your plants. If you don't thin your pants, they will starve each other of moisture and nutrients. Click here to download guidelines and spacing suggestions for thinning your garden.
Doug said it's also important to weed your garden. If you don't keep weeds down, the weeds will compete with your vegetables for moisture and nutrients. Doug says that after you weed your garden you should consider applying a pre-emergent weed preventer. This will not hurt plants that are growing, but it will prevent weeds from sprouting.
After you weed, it's important to feed your garden. Doug recommends applying organic fertilizer. This will help replace some of the nutrients that have washed away due to our recent rain.
Watch for bugs. Insects such as aphids can do considerable damage to your plants. There are lots of sprays and pesticides that you can use. Doug says that it's important to remember that while insecticides will take care of pests that damage your plants, it can also cause harm to bees and other pollinators that are important to our environment. If you are going to use an insecticide, Doug highly recommends that you apply in the evening when bees are less active.
Finally, when watering your garden Doug suggest to use a hose attachment that allows for a gentle spray. Be very careful not to blast your plants with a powerful stream of water.