It’s the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer and the gardens are bursting with bright colours and beautiful blossoms. But just cause everything is blooming doesn’t mean you can take a rest on your lounge chair with an umbrella cocktail in hand. Read on for our hot take on summer activities to keep you and your garden thriving during the sultry summer.

1. Go looking for inspiration

Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned green thumb, sometimes you need to seek out some new ideas to jumpstart your garden. Summer is the perfect time to do this since most everything is in full bloom. Bring along a notebook and your phone to take notes and pictures of what you like and could see working in your own garden.

Here’s some place to go searching for your next gardening inspiration:

  • Botanical gardens
  • Parks
  • Local garden tours
  • Museums with gardening exhibits
  • Historical homes or sites

 

2. But don’t forget about harvesting your warm season veggies

Visit your vegetable garden every day during the summertime to keep an eye on when they need to be harvested. Vegetables should be picked at the right time to ensure the right level of sweetness and texture. And if you pick them too late, they may stop producing or the vegetables become tough and woody.

Here’s some things to look for in your vegetables to know if they are ready to be harvested:

  • Summer squash: Pick when it is firm but while the skin can still be easily pierced with your thumbnail.
  • Beets: Harvest when they are 1½ to 2½ inches in diameter for the best flavour.
  • Eggplant: Look for when the skins are glossy and the flesh should not spring back when you press it with your thumb.
  • Watermelon: Pick when the part of the melon that sits on the ground turns from pure white to a creamy or yellow colour.

 

 

3. Throw a picnic in your garden

Now that you’ve harvested all those fresh vegetables and fruits, it is time to make a delicious meal and dine al fresco. Pack your picnic basket and spread a blanket out in your garden. Bring along a few battery-operated lanterns and a small speaker to set the mood. Invite family and friends to join you for delicious summer salads and a dessert of fruit tarts.

Here’s some other food and beverage suggestions that make use of your garden produce:

  • Watermelon salad
  • BLT sandwiches
  • Vegetable summer rolls
  • Berry lemonade
  • Peach iced tea

 

4. Keep your garden cool and comfortable

There’s something so refreshing about taking a break from your gardening and going to sit in the shade of a big tree. Trees, shrubs, and plants act like nature’s version of air conditioning on a hot summer afternoon. Don’t forget about your feathered friends and make sure that their bird bath is always full of water for them to cool off in.

Here’s some ideas for keeping your garden and yard cool during the summer months:

  • Install a fountain, small pool, or other water feature. The evaporating water can have a cooling effect plus you’ll get the soothing sounds of running water.
  • Build an arbor, pergola, or other structure to provide a shady spot. We suggest planting quick-growing bougainvillea at the base for more coverage from the vines.
  • Place chairs or a bench in areas of your garden that tend to get the least amount of direct sunlight.

 

5. Make a plan for gardening in the heat

The temperatures just keep rising during the summer months and often the heat and humidity can creep up on you while you’re outdoors. Have a plan for how you’ll deal with the intense summer weather, so you don’t get heat stroke, heat exhaustion, or dehydrated.

Here’s some things to keep in mind while you’re gardening in the heat:

  • Plan to do the gardening work that will take the most physical activity either early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is not so intense.
  • Keep a bottle of water nearby and drink frequently. Consider drinking a sports beverage if you’re perspiring heavily.
  • Wear sunscreen, a wide- brimmed hat, and light-coloured clothing.
  • Take a tip from the kids and finish your day with a fun run under the sprinkler!

 

6. Help out a neighbour in need

If you’re struggling with the heat of summer, then imagine what your elderly neighbours and friends are dealing with. It can be hard for them to properly care for their gardens on especially hot days. Check in on them and ask how you could be of help.

Here’s some ways to consider lending a green thumb to a fellow gardener in need:

  • Volunteer to weed, prune, or harvest their gardens and let them give you the guidance on what they exactly need done.
  • Offer to cut your neighbour’s flowers and present them arranged in a pretty vase.
  • Plant an extra row in your garden of summer fruits or vegetables and give them to a neighbour or donate to your local food pantry.

 

 

 

 

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