Second season gardens, planted in mid to late summer, allow enthusiastic gardeners to refresh their landscaping and make changes to their garden beds. Mid to late summer can be a difficult time for planting because of intense sun, heat, and dryness outside, however, it is possible to establish a garden later in the year, if it's done properly.
Plant in Moderate Temperatures
Avoid planting in the middle of a heat wave, as this can stress plants. Instead, plant when temperatures outside are simply moderate to warm. Plant in early morning when the ground is relatively cool.
Container plants in late summer may have large root balls that have become bound by the container. Remove your plants and then shake the roots until they spread out in long strands, then place the roots in the hole that you've dug. This will help the roots grow down as they become established in the ground.
Mulch is very important in mid to late summer because it helps hold in moisture. Spread mulch around your garden bed, but do not pile it up around the base of your new plants. This can cause water to accumulate on your plants' stems, leading to fungus or mildew development in your plant.
Water in the early morning to minimize evaporation and ensure that your plants get all the water they need. All plants, even drought-tolerant plants, need to be watered regularly until their roots have had time to establish. In the first week, check your plants daily or every other day. If the soil feels dry, provide water. Spread out the time between waterings as the month progresses, until you can go a week between waterings without the plants wilting. Different plants will establish at different speeds, so speak with the clerk at your nursery when you purchase the plants to find out how long you can expect establishing time to take.
Get Your Plants from a Reputable Nursery
Not all plants can survive the intensity of late summer. The representative from a nursery, such as Bob Williams Nursery Inc., should be able to help you pick outdoor plants that are appropriate for your second season garden. Getting an opinion from a professional will help ensure that the plants you choose are appropriate nursery plants for your garden.
For more information about planting a second season garden, talk to your nursery professional at the time of purchase. He or she can answer your questions and give you advice.