Midsummer Garden Checklist to Get the Most Out of Your Garden

by Corinne Mossati

Midsummer Garden Checklist: January is a time that conjures up long, lazy and languid summer days, refreshing morning swims and late afternoon cocktails in the garden. But the reality is, at this time of year, my garden is due for mid-season maintenance.

Midsummer Garden Checklist

Midsummer Garden Checklist: Harvest – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Midsummer Garden Checklist

1. Out with the Old and Diseased

Midsummer in my coastal garden is usually the time when powdery mildew sets up shop and hands out free tickets to other plants. If the zucchinis stopped producing, cucumber leaves have burnt to a crisp with a fine, powdery snow-like cover, it’s time to rip them out and consider replacing them.

2. Start Seeds

If you’re a very organised gardener, you’re probably starting seeds every six weeks or so. In case you need a gentle reminder – as I do – it’s time to start another round of seeds depending on your climate and what grows quickly during the summer months. On the seed trays I have sunflowers, dwarf sunflowers, zucchini, cucumber, a whole medley of dwarf and indeterminate tomatoes, 3 types of basil and scarlet runner beans. For inspiration, take a look at What to Grow in January (Temperate Climate Australia). If your climate allows it and you’re planning on growing tomatoes during winter, you van start tomato seeds.

3. Prune

Heat, humidity and summer showers can attract a range of diseases so I like to prune lower leaves to improve airflow. This is not limited to indeterminate tomatoes but includes all my eggplant, dwarf tomatoes and cucurbits. Deadhead flowers to encourage more blooms. If your basil is starting to flower, pinch the tops to prolong the plants’ life or leave them for the pollinators. I usually grow more basil than I need and let some plants flower to attract pollinators.

4. Midsummer Garden Checklist (cont’d): Fertilise

Midsummer Garden Checklist

Tomato Midsummer Harvest – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Midsummer in the garden is a time when many plants such as dwarf tomatoes, bush beans and corn have produced the first flush of fruit. This is the time to apply a little blood and bone, poultry manure pellets and a touch of potash to encourage more fruiting. This method has worked successfully with my bush beans (read about it here) and I’ve been harvesting generous handfuls of beans daily.

5. Weed and Mulch

Getting on top of weed such as clover or oxalis is a challenge but setting aside a little time every week makes the task a little easier. Midsummer is also the time to replenish or top up sugarcane mulch around edibles to reduce evaporation and retain moisture.

Garden Midsummer Checklist

Garden Midsummer Checklist – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

6. Save Seeds

Some plants such as basil, dill, calendula and celery have set seed so it’s time to collect them and save them. If your sunflowers have bloomed and attracted the odd family of cockatoos, it’s a sign to pull them out, harvest the sunflower seeds and start another round. Leaving a scattering of seeds in the aftermath of hungry birds can attract rodents. On the positive side, they can germinate in situ.

7. Australian Native Garden Maintenance

Lemon Myrtle

Lemon Myrtle – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

There is a common misconception that our native plants need very little care. I was surprised how much of a difference a little tidy up, pruning and application of native fertiliser can do.

My Australian native plant collection was once confined to one raised garden bed and it has since spread all over the courtyard garden. The native garden bed had a major tidy up. I removed spent plants, harvested and replaced the Warrigal greens, revitalised the soil and added a good measure of native fertiliser. I transplanted the Toffee Apple Lilly Pilly that was growing in a small pot hoping the little red buds would yield some fruit.

8. Midsummer Garden Checklist (cont’d): Harvest

It may seem a little obvious but midsummer is a great time to harvest often and enjoy your produce. Remember, the more you harvest fruit and vegetables, the more the plant produces. This is especially true in my garden with beans, shishito peppers and tomatoes.

9. Drink Your Garden

Garden Cocktail

Garden Cocktail – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Midsummer in the garden is also the time to kick back, relax and enjoy a garden cocktail or botanical beverage. There’s nothing like capturing the freshness of your homegrown produce in a glass and sharing it with friends. You’ll find garden cocktail inspiration in my digital book, GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available with instant download.

Happy midsummer gardening!

Shrubs & Botanical Sodas Covermore

You may also like