The Plant Man: Answering your summer planting questions

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” –Nat King Cole

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

Sun-kissed days and warming evenings ensure an abundance of color and growth in our Laguna gardens. Let’s roll up our sleeves, slip on our goatskin gloves and get back to the garden with the Plant Man.

Let’s get back to the garden with your questions for the Plant Man.

Q: What is an important summer garden task?

A: Before we fully immerse ourselves into summer fun, start with the less than enjoyable chore of dealing with pesky weeds and rubbish. Take the time to remove them from flowerbeds, vegetable patches and walkways. Remember to pull the weeds out from the roots, ensuring they don’t make a reprise all too soon…and keep litter in the trash can.

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Ice plant and trash are not the best look anywhere

Q: When is the best time to water?

A: Water early in the morning or later in the day to minimize evaporation, and foliar diseases and sunscald. Deep watering is key, your goal is to thoroughly saturate the soil. Keep a close eye on potted plants and hanging baskets, which tend to dry out more quickly.

Q: Should I be fertilizing my garden now?

A: To keep your garden thriving, apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer to flowerbeds, vegetable patches and container plants, following the label instructions. Fertilizing will provide the necessary nutrients to support vibrant growth and abundant blooms throughout the summer season

Q: Can I prune my plants during the summer?

A: Summer pruning provides an excellent opportunity to shape plants for their vigor and health. Prune spring-flowering shrubs by removing any dead or spent flowers and trim leggy growth on shrubs and perennials to promote compactness and encourage fresh growth. A well-pruned garden not only looks neat but also improves air circulation, reducing the impact of opportunistic pests and diseases.

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Be inspired by the endless possibilities of gardening by the sea

Q: Should I be mulching my garden now?

A: Always consider applying a layer of organic mulch throughout the year. It will not only discourage future weed growth but also helps to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature and nourish the soil. Besides it gives a finished look to any planting bed.

Early summer gardening lays the foundation for a thriving garden throughout warmer months. Let’s embrace the bliss of early summer, celebrate the Fourth of July and tend to our gardens with care. And it is true, “You’ll wish that summer could always be here.” See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at plantman2@mac.com, or 949.494.5141.


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