Gardening in heat of summer means considering many aspects

Rodd Moesel offers advice for gardening.
By Rodd Moesel, For The Oklahoman Published: June 4, 2012

Welcome to June and the launch of our three brightest and warmest months of the Oklahoma year. This is the season when our plants have the most light so their chlorophyll factories can be their most industrious and productive of the year — as long as they have access to adequate moisture and don't get overheated.

To have the greatest chance for gardening success, we can help to create the right environment for each plant by planting them in the proper spot. It is important to know if a plant does best in full sun, partial sun or full shade. Is the plant one that needs a well drained soil and doesn't like “wet feet,” or one that likes to stay damp or even relishes bog type conditions?

We have finished only about two months of the 2012 growing season and have about five months still ahead to enjoy our annual plantings. Many of us in the horticulture business are always so swamped in April and May that we rarely get to plant our own gardens and containers until June or after. I have gotten much of my planting done the last couple of weekends and will plant more soon.

You can be very successful planting container grown annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees at this time of year as long as you diligently water them well and regularly as they confront the summer heat. This is a great time of year to consider installing drip irrigation to provide even and regular watering to your vegetable gardens, flower beds, trees and even container gardens. Once installed, it is fairly easy to automate these systems with a timer to assure nice slow, soaking water applications.

Most plantings will benefit from an application of natural mulches like bark of pine, oak, fir, cedar or eucalyptus or hulls like pecan, cocoa or cottonseed. This will reduce water evaporation from the soil and cut watering volume and time by up to 50 percent, while keeping soil temperatures cooler and more consistent. Another bonus of a mulch “comforter” of 1 to 3 inches deep over the soil surface is the dramatic reduction of weed germination and competition with your desired plants.

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