It’s time to get the garden ready for summer hibernation once again. We made it through another season in the Desert. How does your garden look? How are things holding up through these days of warm weather and low humidity? There is still plenty of opportunity for “gardening” tasks through what we call early summer. We start with a word aboutWATER as we so often do. Irrigation clocks should come on every day now. What type of irrigation system do you have? “Sprinklers” should be on one time a day in the morning, 8-10 minutes per station……there are always exceptions. Deep shade areas and turf may require less water. “Drip irrigation” should run daily not less than 45 minutes per station. It sounds like a lot of water but remember, each drip head emits a minimum of one gallon of water per hour. You may need to run the water even longer. The worst possible scenario – short of no water– is to have the drip lines run several times a day for short periods of time. It is a completely inappropriate method of water distribution and will surely stress the plants out causing their certain demise. Deep watering produces deep roots which is what we want to see in a garden. It makes no difference whether the plant is ‘drought tolerant’ or tropical; correct watering is the key to an established garden.
The single best thing you can do for your garden during the summer months is to invest in a rechargeable 12 volt battery for your time clock. If you spend summers here, you know that power outages are an inevitability and the battery backup ensures that your time clock will maintain its summer schedule. Otherwise factory presets will cause the time to reset to about 10 minutes a day. Great if you run a ‘standard’ sprinkler system. Not so great if you have a DRIP irrigation.
Be sure to FERTILIZE the entire garden one more time before the real heat hits the Desert. We love our boutique fertilizers at Moller’s Garden Center, those specially formulated for specific varieties of plants. Dr. Earth and Fox Farm are our favorites.
By now you know the Desert is made up of many different soil types. MULCH is often overlooked in our area but it so important for many different reasons. Some areas have blow sand which is great for growing anything; others have more coarse soil–the water runs right through it without proper mulching. Still other areas have heavy soil where water penetration is a problem. Here mulching helps to break up to soil which allows roots to breath. Healthy roots create healthy plants. A thick layer of mulch spread at the base of your roses will keep them happy all summer long. Almost anything in the garden will benefit from summer mulching.
PRUNING is always a little tricky through summer. May is generally a great month to prune the shrubs and trees that have offered us beautiful flowers all spring but the pace slows down we approach mid-June. Let the weather be your guide, when we bump up well above 100 degrees consistently it is time to put the pruning shears away. We are well on our way to a warm summer. A little snip here, a little snip there is a perfect way to sustain the shape of your garden through the summer months. This maintenance practice prevents runaway gardens from occurring, thus avoiding the horrific pruning/butchering we see all too often in the fall. Your garden will stay lush and natural with regular ‘snipping‘ all summer long.
The tradition of summer annuals is upon us once again. This is a perfect time to change your fall flowers to summer color. Vinca, angelonia, gomphrena, marigolds, zinnia and rudbeckia fill our shelves along with perenials such as verbena, salvia, million bells, pentas, gaura and numerous other bursts of color. Keep in mind when shallow rooted plants such as bedding flowers are initially planted they may need a little extra water the first two weeks they are in the ground to get them established. Just push manual on your time clock to run the station through if you feel you need a little extra water in the garden. There is still plenty of time to plant just about anything through May and early June and we have lots of great product to plant! If it is in the nursery, it can be planted in your garden!
Thank you once again for a great season this year. As always, we really appreciate your business at Moller’s Garden Center, Inc. Have a great summer!