Yeah – it is summer –Boo – it is summer….

We have had many glorious days here in the Barrie area.  Remember when we were complaining about the cold, the wind, the ice!  Oh my! Today is sunny and spectacular – and it made us think of a few of the bad parts of those super sunny and very  hot July days!  

First up – don’t misunderstand, on a personal note… we love this weather – so anything negative you read below is more about weather from the gardens side! Sunny and warm – bring it on!  

Next – I know we are starting to sound like a broken record – but as we watered the hanging baskets today – after watering them yesterday (twice)  – and the day before (twice) – and the day before (twice.. yikes!) – is that all that watering flushes out of the basket soil the plant nutrients….and our basket plants are really growing nicely – so they are using up the plant nutrients that are in the basket soil.  What all ‘flushing and growing’ means is that this is officially the start of ‘your baskets are getting hungry’ season. Even with time-release plant food mixed in the soil back in May when we did our planting – about now is the time to think about adding extra plant food.  

We are fond of liquid plant foods like 15-30-15 for baskets – but there are many types at the garden centre and it is important to think about adding extra plant food now.  We like to use the ‘mix it less strong and use it more often’ trick – so around our baskets they are getting 15-30-15 mixed to a weak solution – but then applied every few watering’s. If you are too busy for liquid feeds them top dressing (darn – another buzzword – top dressing fancy way to say sprinkle some on top of the soil…) granular plant food is ok.  

Keep an eye on the leaf colour of your petunias or calibrachoa as good indicator plants. These plants will yellow out first if they are hungry. We always give these guys more plant food than the rest of the herd and in a few weeks will break out some iron supplement too.  

With this heat watch your watering on any new plants that you have installed this spring.  We added some ground covers to a garden bed and days like today can cook the roots. Remember that newly planted plants have not yet pushed roots deep into the soil – so they need a little more water than established plants. Also with newly planted plants make sure you water deeply – we want those roots to grow ‘down’ to find water – not grow around the soil surface. Deeply rooted plants will handle the real heat of July and August better than same plant with a shallow root mass.  

Finally – keep an eye on your weeds. We know you know this – BUT pulling little baby weeds is easier than pulling those same weeds two weeks later.  We like to do weeding as our first garden activity – as we like it the least – but also as it is easier to pull weeds when the soil is moist – we want to get all the roots if we can – and roots pull easier at 8 am then at 3pm.  Ok – that is NOT a real fact – but it sure seems that way. Plus getting weeds out first makes us happy (when task is done) and then the rest of day just seems to go smoothly. Happy Gardening!