Summer Chores in the garden

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Balmy summer is just one of those lazy kick up your heels and relax seasons and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  Apart from hanging up a hammock and sipping on long cool glasses of lemonade, it's a lovely time to just contemplate...And whilst I would love to just sit back in a sheltered corner and relax, there are still the odd summer chores that need doing.

Summer garden maintenance chores

Fruit trees - many people think that once the fruit tree has finished fruiting and the fruit has been picked that they can ease off on the watering.  What they don't realize is that feeding and watering now (which promotes healthy new growth) will in fact increase next year's bounty!  Fertilize your citrus trees at the end of summer using liquid manure or poultry manure - they will love you for it.  Keep up the mulch levels to avoid water loss as the days warm up.

Vegetables - Get those vegetable beds ready now for your winter-spring vegetables.  Add lime and manure to the soil and turn in well.  Then let it settle for a fortnight before putting your seeds or seedlings in.  Beans, beetroot, brocolli, brussel sprouts, capsicum and eggplant are great choices.  If you are fortunate enough to have a big plot, then rotating crops can prevent disease transfer from the old crops to the new.

Gutters and drains - If you are in an area that is prone to forest fires or bush fires, then summer entails cleaning out the gutters and drains to remove all 'fuel' in case a firestorm comes through.  Add these to the compost heap.

Weeds - with the increase in plant growth comes weed growth too.  There is one rule of thumb when it comes to weed control - a little at a time goes a long way.  It will save you hours of work because it stops them propogating and spreading seeds everywhere in the next season.  Small weeding forks are great tools in removing weeds in the lawn but if you have a big weed problem in your lawn, one of these weed killers may come in handy.

Mulching - if you have neglected to mulch in spring, summer mulching is a must if you want to reduce watering requirements and to protect shallow rooted plants like camelias and azaleas.  If you have already done mulching in spring, consider topping it up in summer.

Watering - this would be one of your major chores in the summer garden.  Deep rooted plants need watering about once a week.  Shallow rooted plants would require more frequent waterings - a drip irrigation system is excellent for thirsty plants like hydrangeas.

Rain barrels are a boon for most gardens. I use mine all the time to store rain water which I find a great resource when my plants get thirsty in summer.

Pest control - If you have citrus in your garden, scale pests are now in full force as are the other pests like white cabbage moth caterpillars.  Aphids are also out in force to suck the juices out of your succulent new shoots.

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Summer chores in the garden