Caring for your garden in summer

Summer gardening is optimal for growing a variety of vegetables and flowers. However, good preparation is critical for your garden to survive the South African summers.

Whether you are growing edibles or ornamentals, in the ground or in raised beds, caring for your summer garden doesn’t have to be complicated. Divide your time and effort between keeping our gardens in good shape and enjoying them during the hot summery days.
 


Follow this guide to develop good summer garden care habits that will benefit your plants all the way into fall.


Prune dead leaves

With the heat, it’s inevitable that some of your plants’ leaves will wilt and dry out. By removing these leaves, the surviving foliage receives more nutrition and the plant’s beauty improves. Trimming them off will give new life to your garden, making it look more vibrant and thriving. Do this carefully with garden shears or scissors.


Prevent & control weeds

If you’ve kept up with a regular weeding routine, you’ll be rewarded as the summer goes on. Frequent weeding stops weeds from reseeding and multiplying, making for less of a chore over time. Keep pulling those weeds to stop them from stealing nutrients and moisture meant for your healthy plants! 

Take a half hour early each morning while it is still cool outside to pull out any weeds that have invaded your garden. You can use Protek’s Clear Pave to not only kill weeds, but their roots as well.


Harvest your crops

Harvesting often will keep your plants flowering and producing more fruit. 

Here are a few tips for harvesting fruiting crops at the right time:
1. When possible, pick vegetables just before eating
2. Know which vegetables have flexible harvest dates
3. Know which vegetables need to be harvested regularly
 


Plan and plant

Plan to add annual flowers and fall harvest vegetables to maximise your garden. Great flowering plants for summer gardens include annuals like petunias, marigolds, and impatiens, which will bloom regularly for months. The second half of summer is also the time to plant cool weather vegetables like spinachbroccoli, and kale, which will mature for fall harvesting.


Fertilise

Plants, like people, need to not only drink water but also eat for nourishment! By now, your plants’ soil may be getting depleted of nutrients. Give them a feeding by side-dressing with Malanseuns compost or aged manure or give them a drink of liquid fertiliser such as Protek Guanoflo. Regular feeding helps your plants grow bigger, stronger, more productive, and better equipped to handle summer stress.


Water

Watering is critical when the heat is on high. Put out a rain gauge to determine just how much water you are getting from those thunderstorms: 2,5 to 5cm a week is optimum. If you are not getting that much in rainfall, it is time to do some deep watering yourself.

In the hot, dryer months, it is better to water your plants in the morning while it is still cooler and there’s less direct sunlight. This will prevent losing too much moisture to evaporation. This way, you’ll also end up saving on your water bill!


Fight off pests

Scouting for insect pests (the unwanted visitors) frequently will help you keep ahead of any population explosions of garden destroyers. Be sure to check the undersides of the leaves, where most pests like to hide and lay their eggs. Many bugs like to sleep in, so you can often catch them in the morning when they are still groggy. Give them a high-pressure spray from the garden hose to help get rid of them! If that doesn’t work, use products such as Efekto Plant Protector, Protek Avi Gard, Protek Spraykill or Protek Kemprin.


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