Believe it or not, there are a few summer garden chores that when performed, can have a major impact on the health and productivity of next year’s garden.
And not only that, they also help to minimize future weeds and pest problems, and the time spent dealing with them.
But best of all, each of these simple chores take mere minutes to perform!
Here is a look at our 3 must-do summer garden chores to set the stage now for a great garden next year!
3 Must-Do Summer Garden Chores
#1 Remove Diseased Foliage, Vegetables & Plants
The quickest way to let disease run rampant in a garden is to let it hang around!
At the first sign of any plant damage or disease, the foliage should be clipped from the plant and removed from the garden.
Many types of mold, mildew and disease will quickly and easily spread if left in the garden. And they can also infect the soil.
That means they will stick around all winter, simply lying in wait to attack next year’s plants.
Be on the lookout and remove the foliage damaged by pests and insects as well.
Many garden pests will lay eggs or larvae on the damaged plants or in nearby soil. By removing them now, it can help keep future pest populations in check.
When removing diseased and damaged foliage and plants, be sure to keep them out of the compost bin.
Whether it is tomato blight, powdery mildew or any other common garden ailment, it is never a good idea to compost the materials affected by them.
Most backyard compost bins simply cannot generate enough heat to kill the pathogens and spores.
And that means they can infect the very compost you will use on your plant’s next season.
#2 Keep The Soil Covered – With Crops, Mulch Or A Cover Crop!
The best way to stop next year’s weeds is to never them become planted this year.
And the best way to do that is to keep your garden soil covered at all times. Whether by a current vegetable crop, mulch, or by planting a cover crop.
As your garden plants begin to fade and you begin to remove crops, don’t let the soil lay bare.
It is an open invitation for weeds seeds to find a home. And of course, become next year’s (or even this year’s) weed problems.
In many cases, there is still time to plant another crop for a late fall harvest. ( See : 5 Fall Vegetable Crops You Can Plant & Harvest In 30 Days)
And if planting more crops isn’t an option, apply a heavy mulch of straw or grass clippings as you remove plants.
It not only helps keep weed seeds out, but protects your valuable garden soil from erosion.
An even better way to cover that soil is by planting a protective cover crop. See : How To Plant A Cover Crop
Cover crops are a great way to re-energize and protect your soil from weeds and erosion. All in one step!
We plant annual (cereal rye) in our garden as a cover crop anytime our garden rows will not be replanted with an additional crop.
#3 Take Photos & Notes Of Your Garden – Now!
And finally, as silly as our final must-do summer garden chore sounds, it might be the most important of all.
Go out in your garden right now, in the middle of summer, and snap a few pictures with your phone. At the same time, write down a few notes now about what performed well, and what didn’t.
When it comes to next year’s garden, those photos and notes will be invaluable!
Why? Because as any gardener knows, never trust your memory. You will quickly forget where you planted what.
And forgetting what was where can make important tasks like rotating crops very difficult.
In addition, those notes will also help you to remember that this variety did well, while another didn’t. All very important when planting next spring.
Trust me when I say that your notes and photos will serve you well. We would be lost without them!
It is amazing how just a little bit of work in the garden now will pay big dividends next year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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