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Enjoying the Summer Heat: Time to Create a Custom FoodScape

Summer is an exhilarating season for gardeners (novice and pros), with an abundance of planting, trial & error, produce, recipes, canning and pickling, sharing with neighbors. However, it’s a crazy amount of work. There’s heavy lifting and sore muscles, dirty hands amending soil, the tediousness of seed starting, and transplanting, bugs, animals, and-and-and…weeds. There’s so much to it, and yet we love it!

As mid-summer temperatures rise, pests like insects and deer can creep in, while drought conditions can lead to trouble-shooting water needs. This all ties to cracked fruits and defoliated plants, weird colors, yucky bugs everywhere…oh my, what to do. 

Here’s how to tackle these late summer challenges:

  • Watering: Ensure your vegetable garden receives at least an inch of water weekly, more if temperatures are unusually high. Water early in the morning for optimal results and DO NOT water the leaves of plants…just the soil. Utilize rain barrels and drip irrigation, especially if drought restrictions are in place. If you’re hand watering, do it everyday or every other day. Drip irrigation can run 30 to 60 minutes 2 or 3 times a week depending on the type of food you’re growing. DO NOT use sprinklers to water your food. Please.

  • Mulching: Apply a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch to suppress weeds, cool the soil, and retain moisture, reducing evaporation and water competition. It’s awesome, you’ll love it. And now you can water even less. Test the soil with your finger and monitor to make sure it’s staying ‘moist’ but not ‘drenched’.

  • Pest Management: Become an investigator. Regularly scout your garden to catch problems early. Most insects are either beneficial or harmless. Yes, wasps are actually your friends. So are bats. They eat the ‘bad’ bugs that destroy your happiness. Correctly identifying pests will help determine their life cycle and the best control methods, but please don’t go around killing everything. And please do not SPRAY bugs. Use natural remedies like highly scented companion plants like lavender, mint, or marigold and nasturtiums. Bad bugs hate the scent. Pepper flakes and cinnamon or a little bit of soapy water can get rid of ants and aphids. Be a scientist and figure it out. Bug spray is cheating and toxic…for you, your food, your children, and your pets. If you buy it at Home Depot…chances are you can do better. I promise.

  • Dealing with Pests: For aggressive pests like tomato hornworms, hand-pick them and dispose of them in soapy water. Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs to naturally control pest populations. Make sure to avoid unnatural, chemical based pesticides and fertilizers that stunt growth and again…are toxic to everyone.

  • Four-Legged Pests: Protect your garden from deer, squirrels, and rabbits with barriers like fencing, garden enclosures, and repellents. Scent-based and electronic deterrents are available to keep animals away. Also see above about scented plants that bugs don’t like. Most can be used for animals as well.

  • Tomato Care: Prevent sunscald with shade cloths and avoid blossom end rot with consistent watering and adding organic matter. Choose heat-resistant tomato varieties for better resilience during hot summers. Tomatoes love sun and water…but they need consistency and hate scalding constant sun.

Overwhelmed by the Amount of FoodScape Options? Let Us Help:

Some of the Best Vegetables to Plant According to

  1. Tomatoes: 

  • Planting: Choose drought-tolerant varieties. Plant in a location with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

  • Watering: Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots, reducing evaporation. Water deeply but infrequently to encourage deep root growth. Watering in the early morning is best.

  • Mulching: Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and reduce the need for frequent watering.

  • Pruning: Prune lower leaves and suckers to improve air circulation and reduce disease risk, which can help the plant manage water better.

  1. Peppers:

  • Planting: Opt for heat-tolerant varieties. Ensure full sun exposure.

  • Watering: Water at the base using a drip system. Maintain consistent moisture, but allow the soil to dry slightly between watering.

  • Mulching: Mulch heavily to conserve moisture and keep the soil temperature stable.

  • Pruning: Prune early growth to encourage stronger, more resilient plants.

  1. Berries: 

  • Planting: Choose drought-resistant varieties. Ensure good sun exposure.

  • Watering: Use drip irrigation. Water deeply but less frequently to promote deep roots.

  • Mulching: Use organic mulch to keep the soil cool and moist.

  • Pruning: Prune old canes and runners to reduce competition for water and nutrients.

  1. Cucumber: 

  • Planting: Grow in raised beds to improve drainage. Ensure full sun.

  • Watering: Apply water directly to the soil with a soaker hose. Keep soil consistently moist.

  • Mulching: Mulch to retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.

  • Support: Train cucumbers on trellises to improve air circulation and reduce water needs.

  1. Melons:

    1. Planting: Choose heat-tolerant varieties. Full sun is essential.

    2. Watering: Water deeply and infrequently using drip irrigation. Mulch to conserve moisture.

    3. Mulching: Apply organic mulch to maintain soil moisture and control temperature.

    4. Spacing: Provide ample space between plants to reduce competition for water.

Starting this process during the hottest season can be a lot to handle. Email us for a complimentary phone consultation to learn more and get help to start designing your foodscape at

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