GARDENING: Early Summer Garden To-Do List

My previous post on my spring gardening to do list was such a success, I thought I would share my summer maintenance schedule as well. Early summer brings many fresh blooms in the garden which means a lot of food and watering. It is also a good time to plant, move and "train". As things come in you may realize that certain plants are taking over and they may need to be split next spring, or you may need to move smaller plants before or after they flower, or train rambling climbers that are getting "wily".

Below is my maintenance schedule based on what I have in the garden and my cold zone in the Midwest. Warmer climates are different-so keep that in mind. But this may be a good starting point for you and you can then customize it more for your specific garden needs.


- Rubber band greenery left from your spring bulbs to keep them from covering early summer plants coming up. Gather, bend down and mush in a clump, and pop a rubber band on the bunch. Keeps them tidy as they die back.
- Water (1 " a week should do, more in hot weather)
- Weed, weed, weed (pulling smaller weeds is easier than big, so be efficient and get out there often.)
- Dead head annuals regularly, or else they "go to seed" and will slow down blooming.
- Spot fertilize (I use PREEN, a food and weed preventer, just to save time. It works great!)
- Feed roses once a week around there base with a granular mix that you can work into the dirt (I use a Bayer rose care mix that includes disease prevention, too)
- After rhododendrons and azaleas have bloomed, fertilize.
- Use MirAcid on acid loving plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, Japanese maples and evergreens)
- Snip off dying flowers on rhododendrons, being careful not to cut off the next year's flower bud forming at their base.
- Stake heavy or long plants with twine and bamboo stakes to help them grow straight and give them extra support in wind and storms.
- Train new growth on climbers, and prune any limbs that are not being cooperative. If you are training grapes, cut excess limbs that aren't bearing fruit so the plant can focus it's energy on the budding grapes. Tie off and train against arbor or trellis.
- Dead head your perennials to prolong blooms.
- Feed ferns with a Jerry Baker tonic (5 gallons water, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 Tbsp Epsom Salt. Mix and feed your ferns!)
- Fertilize lawn and put down grub control and weed control.
- Mulch roses lightly to help maintain moisture during the coming hot months.
- Either collect compost from your pile or buy some good stuff and spread it evenly around plants.
- Pinch chrysanthemums and asters to encourage compact growth.
- Prune evergreen hedges.
- Sprinkle Epsom Salt all over the yard, especially greenery and the lawn. Doing this every two weeks is not a bad idea.
- Use some of Jerry Baker's tonics to help feed and care for areas of your garden v.s. using chemicals like "All Purpose Summer Green-Up Tonic" every three weeks.

Jerry Baker's All Purpose Green-Up Tonic

1 can beer

1 cup ammonia

1 cup dish soap

1/2 cup liquid lawn food

1/2 cup corn syrup

Mix in a hose sprayer and spray your whole yard!


- Put down slug prevention as you need. (My father uses the beer method, but I have found Ortho EcoSense slug control to really help.)
- Put down grub control and weed control all over
- Watch for molds and other parasites and treat accordingly.
- A great disease control tonic from Jerry Baker is one I use on occasion:

Jerry Baker Disease Control Tonic

1 can beer
1 can coca cola
1/2 cup dish soap
1/2 cup antiseptic mouthwash
1/4 tsp. instant tea granules

Mix and put in your hose sprayer-go over your whole yard. Wait 30 minutes, then spray with a general fungicide medication for good measure.


- Don't dig and move trees or shrubs just yet.
- Divide bearded Irises and replant after blooming.
- Plant perennials and annuals in your beds and containers! HAVE FUN!
- Sow perennial seeds for blooming next year.
- Get some projects started, and enjoy the outcomes the rest of the summer and for years to come!
Project Ideas:
- Build a water feature. A container pond is a very easy weekend project. I will be posting a video in a couple days to show you how! Or if you are ambitious, build a big pond!
- Create garden paths with stepping stones and pea gravel.
- Put down nice edging along your beds.
- Put down pavers to create sitting areas and walkways, or to create an area for a fire pit.

Fruits and Vegetables (This can get in depth based on what you have in the ground, but this is a rough overview):

- Support tomatoes with stakes, trellis or cages.
- Feed with fertilizer and disease prevention.
- Prune certain tomato plants (Like the vining types-remove all the suckers and leaves under the first flower all the way down to the bottom. Vining types are most cherry types, Big Boy, Beef Master, Early Girl, and most heirloom varieties).
- Support beans, cucumbers and other climbing/trailing fruits and vegetables.


  1. hi ya,
    first i wanted to say "nice to meet you!" sorry i have been mia but i was a way for my 25th anniversay! wow!! and then had a huge event so i appoligize for not getting back intouch sooner... anywho glad to meet you i'm a little big country and a lota bit rock and roll lol... love your garden, i'm a huge gardener myself, i love love love flowers and this year i have branched out and am actually building a "real" farmville with tomatoes, herbs and lots of different peppers. i hate hate hate to weed so i love preen, and i hate to dead head but it does help with flowers coming back... stop by anytime and let me know if you make the blueberry bread pudding~i made it on sunday for a brunch and everyone LOVED it!
    keep smiling!
    shelley :)


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