It’s not too late to have a garden this summer. You may have been busy with school and work and life before looking up and realizing that the days are longer and hotter and you didn’t get your garden in the ground.
There’s still time to bring some green to your yard. And if you did get some plants in the ground, we’ve included a few reminders for caring for your vegetables.
1. Cucumbers. These veggies are easy to grow from seed and thrive in heat. Work plenty of organic compost into the soil, and push two or three seeds an inch deep and about 18 to 36 inches apart. Seeds will germinate in three to 10 days.
Cucumbers, like melons, are heavy feeders and appreciate frequent feedings with an organic fertilizer. As cucumbers grow upward, tie them to a trellis or tomato cage. As long as temperatures don’t exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit and you have the space, you can plant successive crops of cucumbers.
2. Quick-growing greens. In cooler regions, plant lettuces and greens in succession. Start with rich garden soil that has plenty of organic matter worked in, and press the seeds lightly into the soil. A site with filtered light is best. You can also grow greens in containers.
Seed tapes for quick-growing lettuces are another easy way to get some green this summer. Be sure to use quality potting mix, water frequently and look for greens within 10 days.
3. Tomatoes. It’s probably too late to start tomatoes from seed and seedlings, so look for larger plants, like gallon-size tomato and pepper plants with fruit already on the vine. These nursery-grown plants will give you lots of bang for the buck.
If the plant is in a nursery (not decorative) container, transplant it to a slightly larger container, being sure to fill in with quality potting mix and stake if necessary.
Feed once a week with an organic all-purpose fertilizer and be sure to water every few days in the heat of the summer.
4. Companion plants. Speaking of tomatoes, take advantage of companion planting by tucking marigolds in with the tomatoes. The funky smell of marigolds is said to keep soil nematodes away. Even if that’s not a concern, marigolds and other annual flowers interplanted with vegetables attract pollinators and beautify the vegetable garden.
5. Water with authority. Although early evening can be a convenient time for many people to putter around the garden and water the plants, experts say morning is the best time to water. Nighttime watering leaves too much moisture on plants, leading to problems with mildew. A morning drink helps plants survive the hottest temperatures of the day.
Get more great gardening info with these lists:
- 5 Organic Methods to Protect Your Garden from Pests
- 5 Essential Accessories That Your Garden Needs Now
- 5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Vegetable Garden Harvest