If you are like me and lead a pretty busy life, you know how keeping up with your gardens and outdoor spaces may be difficult. Especially when you have created an outdoor space that not only involves vegetable gardens but are working on creating a backyard wildlife habitat garden!
I’ve done several things in my gardens that have helped reduce the amount of time I have to spend on maintenance. My plants are all mulched which helps cut down on weeding, helps conserve water, and adds organic matter to the soil when it breaks down. I visit my gardens often to pull an occasional weed, and keep an eye out for any pests and disease. You can get my garden maintenance checklist here to print out as a reminder for regular garden maintenance.
Summer Garden Tasks:
Mowing Your Lawn:
Keeping your lawn looking good is probably the summer task that takes the longest in your outdoor space. Especially if you have a large lawn. We have over 4 acres and around 2 of those acres are in lawn that requires mowing. My husband is the designated mower, and using our riding lawn mower it doesn’t take a long time. He also does most of the weed eating, but I keep the area around the patio and my raised beds trimmed. It seems like every year before lawn mowing season, something has to be done to the mower. Riding lawn mowers are a big expense for your budget, and sometimes the problem can be easily fixed at home. If you have a lawnmower that isn’t working as it should be, then one thing you can do is buy parts to fix your lawn mower online, so you can save yourself some money.
Watering Your Lawn
When watering your lawn during the summer, when temperatures are often higher and water evaporation is faster, you can follow these best practices:
- Water in the early morning: Water your lawn between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. This allows the grass to absorb moisture before the heat of the day causes evaporation. Watering in the evening can promote fungal diseases due to prolonged moisture on the grass overnight.
- Water deeply and infrequently: Instead of frequent shallow watering, provide a deep soak to encourage deep root growth. This strengthens the grass and allows it to access water stored deeper in the soil. Aim for about 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall.
- Avoid watering during the hottest hours: Watering during peak heat, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., is inefficient as water evaporates quickly. If you have an automated sprinkler system, make sure it doesn’t run during this period. Rotating or oscillating sprinklers are often better than misting sprinklers for watering lawns.
- Use mulch around trees and plants: Applying a layer of organic mulch around trees, shrubs, and flower beds helps retain moisture and reduces water evaporation from the soil. This can indirectly benefit the surrounding lawn.
- Consider water conservation: If your region is experiencing water restrictions or you want to conserve water, you can consider practices such as xeriscaping (landscaping with drought-resistant plants), using rainwater harvesting systems, or installing a smart irrigation system that adjusts watering based on weather conditions.
I love gardening, and have really worked over the last few years to prevent weeds in my garden beds. We have a lot of Creeping Charlie and wild violets in our yard. I don’t treat my yard with anything to prevent weeds and weed killers that have been shown to harm pollinators are not an option for me. It’s easy in my raised bed garden beds to keep weeds out, but my multiple flower beds are a different story. Bob Villa has a good article on preventing weeds in the garden. For me, I have found that a VERY thick layer of mulch is the only way I have been able to keep them at a minimum. Also, pulling the weeds when they first start coming through the mulch, instead of waiting until it becomes over whelming. I would rather spend 15 minutes a couple of times a week in my garden beds rather than a whole week end trying to get rid of them all.
This may sound strange to include in a post on yard maintenance, but I have benches, signs, garden flags, gnomes, garden chairs, patio umbrellas, and a bird bath! And they all have to be cleaned now and again. They tend to collect leaves, dirt and dust. Don’t wait until you have to spend a lot of time scrubbing them down. A good spray with your gardening wand when you water your plants will clean them quickly.
We have several river birch trees that seem to shed their limbs daily. Removing limbs from the yard, dropped pinecones, and dead limbs from your shrubs and bushes is an easy task that will make a difference in how your yard and garden look. Take a few minutes every week to do this. Consider creating a small brush pile in an out of the way area of your yard for wildlife with a few of the small limbs.
Summer isn’t easy on your lawns and garden. Investing just a couple of hours a week on them can make a huge difference on how they look, and how much you will enjoy them. Break small tasks such as deadheading flowers, or choosing to pick up sticks and debris into 15 minute tasks everyday. Getting into your yard in the early morning or evening is a great stress reliever, especially if you are working indoors all day. And get the kids involved! 15 minutes in nature is much better than 15 minutes indoors on video games or their smart phone.
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Please Join Me for the 1st Summer Garden Series “Creating a Backyard Wildlife Habitat”
I will be giving this live class via zoom. Can’t make that date? Don’t worry, it will be recorded and the link sent to your email along with the workbook.
You can register on Eventbrite Here
Use Promo Code 25OFF to receive 25% off the $15 cost.