Gardening Tips For A Good Summer Harvest
I’ve been gardening most of my life. We had a greenhouse when I was a kid and I love spending hours in there. Before having kids I liked having a pretty yard. Now I like having fresh and organic fruits and vegetables. The grass in my yard is now all gone and instead I have woodchips and raised garden vegetable planters with fruit trees mixed in. Each year that passes teaches me more of the plants that grow well, the bugs that like to eat the plants and gardening tips and hacks I pick up online and from other gardeners. Sharing gardening ideas is something I enjoy. This year I planted 21 tomato plants (each one a different type) in my backyard. Some are tiny, a whole bunch will fit into a spoon. Others a handful. Red, orange and purple too. I can’t wait to start canning with them. Going to try tomato sauce and ketchup. Fresh salsa, of course, too. Stay tuned for the recipes. Still waiting for an abundance of tomatoes to ripen.
Here are few must-haves for your own successful garden
Tomatoes like to climb. Offer them tall stakes or trellises and they’ll climb 6-8 feet high! These ones are already over 6 feet. Take the branches that are hanging low and twist them up into the different bars so that they are off the ground, away from pests and mold and grow taller. Some plants do fine on the ground and can grow on a trellis too. Cucumber, squash, even gourds. If you get the vegetable off of the ground there is less chance of rot, sitting in water and they are higher up away from snails and slugs.
When planting make sure you put trees and plants in areas that require the same amount of soil. Fruit trees usually require a lot. Dragonfruit (on the left) is a cactus and needs less. Don’t plant them next to each other. In warm climate, like California, it is best to plant in the late fall. That way trees can get a good root system established before it gets too hot. If you plant late spring or summer trees will require six times as much water.
Also, plant trees facing the south without another tree too close to block out the sun. This way they get enough sun all day. Some trees, like avocado, like partial shade from other trees is okay.
Natria Neem Oil. Great for rosebushes (in my front yard) and fruits and vegetables. The spray is for organic gardening and helps with aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. I know aphids really like my rosebushes and artichoke plants. Natria also makes insecticidal soap and Insect, Disease & Mite Control spray. Keeping bugs off my plants is important for me so that I have more to harvest.
Have the kids help! My front yard is all a drought-scape with lots of butterfly-friendly plants. It is hard on my wrist to dig big holes but the kids can do it easily. I love having them help me in the yard too. Make sure the holes are deep enough and mix a little planter soil with the dirts at the roots.
I’d never put fruit trees or ground vegetables mixed with the drought-tolerant plants. Some would end up overwatered and others not watered enough. Milkweed, sage, lantana, popcorn trees and other plants can be found in the area in nurseries that need less water and can take full-sun. During fall-spring I don’t have to water these at all. In the summer I only water once a week, or less.
Don’t forget to thin out your plants. I always overplant. Especially when I plant from seeds. These seedlings were tiny when I planted them and I wasn’t sure all were going to make it. They look great (always good news) so I need to thin them out and plant some elsewhere. Left to right: tomatoes, eggplant, melon and two types of cucumber. I’m going to thin these some but than going to let them go crazy and grow out the sides of the vegetable planter too. Around it is only wood chips so there is lots of room. But, in general, it is advised to thin out crop so each plant is about 6-10 inches apart.