Before it really heats up this spring, get as much work done in the garden as possible now. The harder you work in the garden, the more benefits you reap later on in the season. Start planting, fertilizing, mulching within the next few weeks so you have less work later when it gets too hot. Remember to garden more frequenly early in the morning and late in the afternoon to avoid getting dehydrated and overheated, this could lead to heat exhaustion. Here is your to do list.
- This is the best time of year to start plant new trees, shrubs and ground covers. With the start of the rainy season, plants thrive getting late afternoon showers. You will still have to supplement watering new plants with a good soaking at least 3 times a week by hand or by watering can. Palms require more frequent watering as does newly planted sod. The sprinkler system is only beneficial for established plants. New plants require more water.
- Start growing your summer vegetables. Collard greens, the cherry tomato known as everglades tomatoe, okra and callaloo, pigeon peas, peppers and tropical root crops all do well in our summer heat.
- Time to give everything a healthy dose of a tropical formulation of fertilizer. Look in the store of a slow release version. Leave the cheap 6-6-6 bags in the store. They do not contain the micro nutrients our plants need. Leave the weed and feed fertilizers behind and just feed the grass with a slow release fertilizer. A healthy lawn will choke out the weeds without polluting our ground water with weed killers. Your children and pets will thank you as well for a grass with less poisonous chemicals.
- Introduce more natives into your garden. Once established, they require less water, less fertilizer. no spays for bugs. These babies are a tough group of plants and will give you years of trouble free pleasure. The local wildlife will be drawn to your garden as well. It’s nice to see birds and butterflies in the garden.
- Get lots of free mulch from your city, landscaper or tree trimmer, or FPL. Mulch keeps the weeds out, keeps the moisture in so you do not have to water so much, and improves the organic content of the soil so you will not have to fertilizer as much.
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