It’s so rewarding to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your gardening efforts. Sitting among your herbs and flowers, breathing the beautiful scents and seeing the lovely colors, is well worth the effort of a garden. And make no mistake – gardening does take effort.

In order to enjoy your garden thoroughly, there are some things to be aware of that will ultimately make your gardening experience more pleasant. After all, who wants to sit in his or her garden and be surrounded by things that need to be done?

Here are some easy ways that you can be a smart summer gardener.


Summer is prime weed time. These prolific interlopers can choke out prize plants in a matter of days (it can seem like only hours). Yes, everyone hates weeding. But your garden will not be as enjoyable if you have weeds in among your plants. Also, weeds take nutrients and water from the soil, depriving your plants of these vital components. Tall weeds can block out sunlight. So, even if you have a wildflower garden, you need to sort out what you want to keep and what needs to go.

To weed effectively, you need to make sure you are:

1) Pulling out the right plant
2) Getting as much of the weed as possible, including the roots

That means looking closely before you yank and digging deep to get roots. The best time to weed is when the soil is very moist.


Speaking of water, nature does not always answer a gardener’s need in this regard. Most gardeners find themselves watering their own gardens throughout the growing season. Here are some things consider with regard to smart watering.

  • When you water, try to use rain water if possible.
  • If you are using a hose or sprinkler, some times of day are better than others for watering. If you have plants with roots that prefer well-drained soil, water in the morning so that the sun will cause the excess water to evaporate. If you have plants with delicate foliage, water in the early evenings so the water droplets on the leaves will not cause “sunburn” spots. Water droplets act like little lenses, concentrating the sunlight so that it can cause burned spots on the leaves.
  • Try to water at the base of the plants when possible. A soaker hose is ideal for this, and it saves water.

Sowing Seed

Seed-sowing is not just a spring or fall activity. Most gardeners feel a twinge of sadness at the ending of the growing season, so extending it a bit to create a fall garden may appeal to you. Any perennials that are cold-hardy can be sown in summer. Some other plants you can sow in summer are:

  • Greens like kale and mustard greens can be sown in August. They will grow right into winter.
  • Carrots can be sown in summer and pulled in late fall.
  • Parsley will grow into autumn if sown in midsummer, and with minimal protection it will stay green well into late fall and winter.
  • Cosmos will flower into September if sown in midsummer.
  • Calendula, a kind of marigold, will flower in the fall if you sow it in June.
  • Violas, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansies will flower through September if sown in June.

While flowers like the traditional Chrysanthemum are favorites for providing fall color. They need to be sown in the spring.