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Building a Resilient Summer Garden: Essential Irrigation Tips and Techniques

Building a Resilient Summer Garden: Essential Irrigation Tips and Techniques

Amy Gray |

Summer is rolling in through Georgia, and we’ve already hit temperatures in the 90s! If you haven’t already, now’s the time to flip your beds for summer crops. I plan to clear out all my cold-weather crops by the end of the week and start planting corn, squash, beans, cucumbers, and okra. We’ve covered all the basics for creating a solid foundation for your Spring lawn and garden, so now’s the perfect time to put those tips into hyperdrive for a healthy summer season ahead.

Before planting your summer crops, consider using soil inoculants to give your plants a strong start. Soil inoculants introduce beneficial microbes into the soil, enhancing nutrient uptake and promoting vigorous plant growth. Applying the inoculant is simple—just dilute in water and apply where you'll be planting. This step can make a significant difference in the health and productivity of your garden, helping your plants thrive even in challenging summer conditions.

Starting seeds and transplanting in the summer can be incredibly rewarding, but it requires some special considerations to ensure your plants thrive in the heat. The first step is to choose heat-tolerant varieties that will flourish in the summer sun. Here in Georgia, I've found my summer crops enjoy those higher temperatures for germination so I prefer to direct sow my summer cropsDepending on where you live, you could start your seeds indoors or in a shaded outdoor area to give them a strong start before they face the full force of summer temperatures. Starting seeds early inside can give gardeners with shorter summers a head start. Once your seedlings are ready, it's time to think about the best practices for transplanting them into your garden. 

Watering is crucial during the hot summer months. New transplants and seedlings are especially vulnerable to drying out, so make sure to water them deeply and consistently. Pay special attention to your soil moisture levels before watering, this will determine the perfect timing for watering your garden. If the soil is dry 1" down, it's probably a good time to water. Early morning or late evening watering is best to reduce evaporation and give your plants the moisture they need to establish strong roots. A drip irrigation system can be particularly effective, delivering water directly to the base of your plants and minimizing waste. Consider using a rain gauge or an irrigation timer to keep track of how much water your garden is getting.

Mulching is another essential practice for summer gardening. Applying a thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw, wood chips, or compost, around your plants helps retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds. This not only keeps your plants healthier but also reduces the amount of watering you need to do. Mulch acts as a protective barrier, keeping the roots cool and moist even on the hottest days. By combining these practices—the use of soil inoculants, careful watering, and effective mulching—you’ll set the stage for a bountiful and resilient summer garden.