Being in nature is one of the most healing and inspirational gifts we can give ourselves. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, you have an opportunity to create a magical and healing place that will lure you into spending time there. You may want to create a shade structure and plant it with fragrant vines, add a swing and other whimsical objects. (See my article Feng Shui for an Inspiring Garden.)
If you don’t have a garden, join or create a community garden like my sister did, and enjoy the added benefits of creatively collaborating with like-minded people and bring home your own fresh bounty!
I interviewed my sister Bridget Brewer, Sausalito, CA Landscape Designer and Architect, about tips she would recommend for the mid-summer garden. Here are some of her recommendations. Be sure to check your local climate zone information to be sure what is best for your area.
1. What to Plant Now
In June and early July, plant beans and summer squash from seed. In the next two to three months plant cool-season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, chard, lettuce, spinach, potatoes and onions.
In terms of flowers, look around your garden and notice what colors or fragrance you feel are missing. It is hard to resist buying plants in full bloom, but if you can wait until next spring and plant younger plants, they will hit the ground running and out-bloom and out-perform almost anything you plant now. It is fine, however, to add color to your garden pots and borders with smaller colorful annuals such as petunias and lobelia.
2. Fertilize and Water
This is the month to focus on keeping everything well fed and watered.
Feed by using organic fertilizers and top dress with good compost with micronutrients. Keep the ground covered. Soil builds from the top down, you are keeping the worms and micronutrients in the soil happy by covering it.
3. Slow Down Weeds Organically
Weeds grow fast during the hot months of summer and plants dry out quickly. To slow down your weeds, enrich the soil and keep it moist at the same time, apply a thick layer (2 to 3 inches) of compost and/or straw around the plants. Leave a small gap for air circulation around the stem or crown.
Tired of mowing and watering a greedy lawn? Make a “lasagna mulch” right on top without having to dig out the lawn. In 8 to 10 months the lawn, weeds, cardboard and mulch will be a rich healthy soil ready for planting. The steps are: 1) mow or cut down the weeds, but leave them in place and add more green mulch (grass clippings, green leaves and stems) until it is 2 to 3 inches thick; 2) Add cardboard sheets (avoid white cardboard as it has bleach) overlapping the edges by 6 inches. Wet down the cardboard thoroughly; 3) Cover the cardboard with arbor mulch (tree chippings).