Summer Garden Care Tips
With summertime in full swing it’s time to take care of a few chores in the garden. Even though you’ve got lots to do with family and travel, your garden should be a place of solace. Enjoy those quiet, green moments, savoring the coffee and some time to reflect. You may find that relaxing in the garden puts the rest of your life on better footing.
The Garden Hose Is Your Friend
Temperatures are beginning to hit the 90s. The generally arid climate helps to keep pest pressure lower than the rest of the country. In the high mountain deserts of the southwest, most summer garden tips center on water.
At these altitudes, the sun is exceedingly intense, with clear sky and less atmosphere to shine through. This kind of sunlight is capable of burning both plants and people. Wear a hat and keep water on the plants.
There’s never enough water in this part of the country, so it won’t do to waste it. Water only at the bottom of the plant. Water deeply and infrequently to keep the deeper soil moist. This will drive roots deeper in search of water, keeping them cool. To help you navigate the Northern New Mexico summers efficiently, we have an article to help make your garden drought proof!
Don’t forget containers and raised beds heat up and dry out faster than in-ground beds. Consider improving your watering methods. Mulching preserves water and cools roots. Drip irrigation governed by a sprinkler timer will automate the watering tasks and allow you to tailor the amount and frequency of watering.
The Pueblo nations historically utilized watering aids to preserve water. The Zuni built sloping berms around their garden beds to gather summer rainwater into the beds, a method called “waffle gardens.” Others like the Hopi and Cochiti utilized ollas, terra cotta jars buried next to the plants. Once the jar is full of water, the plant roots will only take as much as needed, eliminating waste and evaporation.
Weeds Never Take A Day Off
Weeds reduce vegetable production by up to 50 percent. Keep them pulled to reduce your water usage and eliminate competition for resources. They’re also a safe harbor for pests.
Although weeds aren’t generally the same problem in the high deserts as they are further south, they still need to be watched closely. The best time to pull a weed is now. Don’t let it eat and drink tomorrow while your chiles go without.
Fall Gardening Starts Now
All of the earlier produce is now nearly past, with only the deep summer produce like zucchini, peppers, corn and melons to nurse along. But soon enough, there’s going to be winter squash and longer maturing plants such as potatoes, tomatillos and turnips. You can also prepare your late summer planting beds for more cool weather stuff like peas, lettuce, cabbage, kale, radishes, and spinach to take you through the frost and into the winter.
When springtime planting rolls around, these summer garden tips will have you more prepared than ever to get ready for growing in the high country.