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After some up and down temperatures earlier this year, it seems summer has settled in for good. While a lot of the work we do in the garden happens in the spring, that doesn’t mean we can coast through the summer. Here are some things we can be doing in our landscapes to help keep them going through the summer.WaterAs the temperatures heat up and the spigot in the sky turns off, providing supplemental water to our plants often is necessary. There are a variety of ways you can go about watering your plants — from just the hose with a nozzle, overhead sprinklers or drip irrigation. However you decide to water your plants, in general, most will need 1 to 2 inches of water a week, either through rainfall or irrigation.Make sure to keep a close eye on your raised beds and container gardens. Raised beds and containers dry out much quicker than plants in the ground. It’s not uncommon to have to water potted plants daily during hot, dry stretches of weather.WeedsMake sure you stay on top of weeds, and don’t allow them to go to seed. Mechanical (hand pulling, hoeing) is a good way to control small weeds or weeds in small areas. If you have large areas of weeds, herbicides may be the best option for management.Mulching your plants also can help keep weeds down not only in flower beds and around trees, but also in vegetable gardens. Try using organic mulches like wood chips, straw or shredded leaves. Not only will they help keep weeds down, as they break down they also will add organic matter to the soil.PestsPest populations also can explode as the temperatures continue to heat up. It is important to go out and scout your landscape at least once a week. This will help you keep track of what’s going on in your garden and help you stay on top of any pests that may be present.When managing pests in your landscape, try to utilize IPM practices. Depending on the pest you’re dealing with, there may be management options other than spraying pesticides. Often using cultural, physical and biological management techniques can provide adequate control of pests.FlowersMany annual flowers don’t require much care other than the occasional watering. However, some will benefit from deadheading. Doing this encourages the plants to produce more flowers and helps keep them from looking ragged. Some annuals that may benefit from deadheading are geraniums, marigolds, salvia and snapdragons.VegetablesMake sure you’re harvesting vegetables like cucumbers, sweet corn and green beans at the proper time. Also, keep up with harvesting your other vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers.Come July and August, you can begin planting your fall garden. Many cool-season vegetables that we grow in the spring, like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce and spinach, can be planted again in mid-to-late summer.Good Growing Tip of the Week: In addition to keeping weeds down, mulch will help retain soil moisture, meaning you may not have to water as often.
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