Michigan Summer Gardening


It’s time to enjoy the warm weather and garden fast and furiously before winter returns. Whether you garden in the city or the suburbs, take heart! Growing plants can be difficult, but here are some tips to ease the way.

In this area, our challenging soils make watering difficult. In fact, our clay soil actually repels water rather than absorbs it. Using drip hoses for vegetables like tomatoes encourages roots to dig deep into the soil, helping reduce the amount of water needed to keep these plants healthy. 

If you are watering by hand, keep the water pressure at medium. Water plants at their base until there is some standing water on top, make your way through all the plants in your garden, and then water them again! One way you can check how deep your water is penetrating is to stick your finger in the soil and see how far down the moisture goes. I’m often surprised how much water it takes to really get down to the roots.

One way to make every watering count is to have your garden well mulched. Laying down cardboard or newspaper under grass clippings or wood mulch can add an additional layer of protection against weeds and help keep moisture in. This is a great way to keep gardens lush and green all summer long!

This is also the time to prune spring-flowering shrubs, like lilac, forsythia, and azalea. If you prune them shortly 1/3 of the height each year on 1/3 of the branches.

If you have extra seeds after you plant your garden, place them in a closed glass jar. If you have room in your fridge, put them in the crisper drawer. Otherwise, find a cool dry place to keep them until next year. Many seeds can be stored for several years, so with proper care, you don’t need to buy new seeds every year.

No matter if your garden is large or small, enjoy the summer and all its blooms!

Kudos magazine Volume 5.3, By Erin Caudell

About the Author:

Erin Caudell is a horticulturist, herbalist, and farmer. She co-owns The Local Grocer in downtown Flint and at The Flint Farmers Market with her partner Franklin. Erin is passionate about sharing information about growing a healthy community through growing and eating gardens.