Summer Gardening

By Amy Jeanroy

With the heat of summer approaching, now is the time to plan for long, hot days and adding more fertilizer to support the herbs for the last part of the growing season. If you make a simple manure tea or use a fish emulsion, you can increase your herb production right when the plants seem to need the extra boost.

Most fertilizers will last only about sixty days before washing away so by now your soil needs that extra attention. If you have been pinching and using your herbs, the plants are putting all their energy into forming more stems and leaves so they also need that extra food that a little fertilizer will offer.

Leaving on Vacation? Keep the Garden Watered

Summer is also when many families go away for vacation. This may mean that gardens suffer due to lack of proper water. After watering thoroughly right before departing, make arrangements to have your herb gardens watered in one of these ways:

• Have a trusted neighbor or friend come and water on a set schedule. If you have container gardens or raised beds, be sure to water more often than an in ground garden.

• Use a watering technique that is easy to set up and works great! Use a cotton rope, twirl it around the plants (under the mulch) and place one end in a gallon jug of water. The cotton rope will act as a wick and draw up water as the soil dries out. You may still need to ask a neighbor to fill the gallon jug if you are gone longer than a week or it is considerably hot and dry in your area.

• Set up automatic watering using timers and hoses. This is not as difficult as it sounds. There are set ups available at any gardening center that will attach to a hose spigot and permeable drip hoses. You set the timer to water just what you want, when you need it. By placing these drip hoses under mulch, you will actually use less water by keeping an even amount of water available at all times with no water runoff.