Taking care of your veggie garden during summer

Taking care of your veggie garden during summer

I love summer! It’s usually the time when everything looks lush, your plants might already be producing some cute tomatoes waiting to ripen or you already had your first harvest of the year. You may also be witnessing the first aubergines coming out of their delicate purple flowers? Or you are seeing some courgettes growing & expanding nicely along with their beautiful & yummy flowers? Don’t forget to be proud, you gave birth to all of these wonderful plants!

Summer is definitely a dream come true for every urban gardener. It’s clearly the point in time where all the efforts are being rewarded. But let’s not waste all these previous efforts! You can definitely put your sunglasses on as I tell you my 8 top tips for successful gardening during summertime!

When to water your plants?

That’s a great question! Let me answer. It highly depends on the variety you are growing, they all have different watering needs. And as for everything in nature, watering also comes back to a need of a balance: Too much water can harm the plants. On the other hand, not enough water is highly problematic. If your plants are lacking water, you will be able to notice some easy signs. The foliage will tend to look down, the leaves will retract on themselves and their texture will be softer. In this case, watering is definitely needed. A simple thing to do, put your finger into the soil. If you feel that it’s not only dry at the surface but also dry deep into the soil, it would be good to water. One important thing, if the soil is dry, never add water with fertilizer first, always a bit of water alone and then water with fertilizers if needed.

How to water your plants?

When I was a kid I always loved to spray water on every part of the plant! I mean it’s so fun to see all the water drops falling from the leaves, and I also loved the noise! And even sometimes it could create a rainbow! That’s very nice indeed, but let me tell you that this watering style is clearly not efficient and can even be harmful. So take your beautiful green basics watering can & water your plants at the stem, you will avoid wasting water, ensuring the water is actually going into your pots or grow tables. Also, many varieties can develop serious diseases such as mildew for tomatoes or powdery mildew for courgettes when watering their leaves. So believe me, always water the stem, it will make the plants happy!

What is the best time & way to water your plants?

One sure thing, it’s better to water early in the morning or late in the evening, but never during the day. During the day, temperatures are higher so the water will evaporate faster, that’s a waste of this precious resource. And even if you water at the stem, there would still be some little drops going on the leaves of the plant. If the sun is strong, these little drops might create a magnifying lens effect on the leaves which could burn the plant. So preferably in the morning while having a nice coffee or tea or in the evening sipping a glass of wine (avoid the reverse right?). Enjoy this watering time, it can really be your meditation moment in the garden and a great time to closely observe your plants.

Which water is the best?

Rainwater is indeed the most organic water resource kindly offered by nature. It’s free, it can be abundant in certain areas and it’s also slightly acidic. And the main point is that most plant varieties prefer a slightly acidic PH in the soil to grow healthily. Rainwater is your best ally and you can indeed harvest rainwater thanks to the elho green basics rain barrel. It has a large capacity of 200L and by connecting it to a drainpipe, it becomes an easy & sustainable way to catch & use rainwater for watering your plants without limescale. Moreover the product is made of recycled plastic & is produced thanks to elho’s own wind energy. Clearly a great & eco-friendly way to reuse this key resource for your plants. Water is the Blue Gold!

Mulching your pots & grow tables

You might have seen gardeners growing from pots or containers adding some straw on top of their soil and you might wonder why? No, these gardeners are not weirdos! Mulching is a great thing to do as it helps to keep humidity in the soil during summer, and during the colder seasons, it will keep your soil warmer. So by mulching, you will again save some precious water. Moreover, it creates a natural barrier to stop wild herbs or weeds growing in your pots, and this is important because everything which will grow in your pots will suck out nutrients from the soil. Lastly, it’s also adding organic materials on your soil, the mulch will decompose with time and give back nutrients to your soil. It’s a very easy thing to do and trust me this is highly beneficial. You can use several types of mulch such as grass cuttings, or dead leaves or straw that you can easily buy in a pet shop.

Fertilizing your plants during summer

As said in the introduction, the garden in summer needs lots of care & attention. By producing their first fruits or vegetables, your plants need lots of nutrients in this key period, if you wish to obtain long lasting plants. If you are growing tomato, aubergine, cucumber, red pepper, strawberrie or courgette plants, my personal tip would be to fertilize them with a high concentrated phosphorus fertilizer. You can check seabird manure also called guano which is very effective but you can also reuse banana peelings as they contain high phosphorus. If you’re a banana lover, keep the peelings and put them into the soil, they will break down quickly and release the needed phosphorus.

Putting some varieties in the shade

As I’ve mentioned in my previous article, some plants prefer to have a bit of shade to grow, especially when the sun is strong & the weather is hot. The good news is that when you grow in pots or grow tables, your balcony is flexible and you can move them around. If you are still growing radishes, lettuce, chard or spinach, it might be a good idea to place them in a shaded area for half of the day. They will highly appreciate having some rest !

What to plant during summer?

The great news is that you can still plant a lot! It's still the right time to plant some more lettuce, carrots but also radishes! You can also plant some potatoes that you will be able to harvest in around 4 months, using the green basics potato pot. You can check my Instagram Reel indicating you how to plant potatoes & how to harvest them. Harvesting potatoes is like a treasure hunt leading to many surprises!

I truly wish you an amazing summer, the above advice will surely help you to enjoy your green heavenly jungle, providing you with many organic & tasty fruits & vegetables!

Have a wonderful summer, full of Green Love!

The Frenchie Gardener

Who is The Frenchie Gardener?

Patrick, better known as The Frenchie Gardener, started a few years ago with growing his own food on his small balcony in Amsterdam. In the meantime, he moved to Berlin where not only his balcony became a bit bigger but where especially his passion for urban gardening grew a lot. Patrick inspires gardening lovers on daily bases on his Instagram page, where he shares beautiful pictures of his own harvest and very helpful tips. He just published his first e-book easy guide to start growing your food, where he explains how and where to start gardening on a balcony in a very simple and accessible way.