What to do now - Jobs in the Garden by Season

10 midsummer gardening mistakes

Helen Racanelli

Maintain a healthy-looking, thriving garden with these easy maintenance tips.

6. Using the wrong products

Make sure you purchase the right product for your yard. "Topdressing for beds comes in many forms; make sure you install the right one," say Pamela and Dwayne. "Composted bark mulch is great for adding nutrients and nitrogen back into soil that has been depleted by the plants during that year. Mulch will help retain the water as well as insulate the plants from extreme heat during the summer and cold during the winter."  

"Avoid using a sand-based product unless you have drainage issues. Sand-based dressings help the excessive water run off," they add.

7. Spending all your money too soon
Whether you've set aside a budget of  $100 or $1,000 for new plants, try not to spend it all as soon as spring hits. Reserving some funds will allow you to take advantage of perennials that may become deeply discounted when temporary nurseries shut down for the season, which can be as early as July, or to replace plants that have died.

8. Letting the garden become unkempt
"A clean garden is always a happier garden," say Pamela and Dwayne. Don't just let dead or rotten leaves lie where they fall, thinking it is the same as adding compost. "There is a difference between ‘hot composting' with proper equipment and ‘garden composting' the fallen debris under the hedge. Hot composting uses the heat created from the sun to help break down large debris and kills any fungus or moulds that may be present," the duo say. Merely garden composting—in other words, leaving debris where it lies—is a festering environment for bacteria, fungus and disease. "Keep the ground below your hedges clean. Often, homeowners will find an infected plant like azalea with leaf gall. This can be traced back to a laurel hedge that has not been cleaned under. This mess will become infected and spread to other parts of your garden," caution Pamela and Dwayne.

9. Forgetting to deadhead flowers
While it may seem natural and beneficial to let the lifecycle of flowers take their course, by snipping off dead flowers you'll actually encourage a plant to develop more buds. In the thrall of pool parties, barbecue cookouts and other summer activities it's easy to forget to do this simple but rewarding task. Read Deadhead to keep flowers blooming to find out how and when to deadhead effectively.

10. Not knowing when to call it quits
Attempting to eke just a little more life out of a nearly spent basil or parsley container plant might not be worth the effort. Consider using up all the basil in a pesto sauce or putting parsley to good use in a delicious recipe for tabbouleh salad. Seeing as it's still midsummer, you can replant the container with cheerful annuals that will take you through to the first frost.


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