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The Dog Days of Summer are here

Let's get our hands dirty and put some holes in the ground and fill them with our favourite plants. This is always the time of the year that our initial euphoria about our gardens can begin to wain. Right now is usually when a garden looks its best and it's easy to become complacent. Let's face it, tending to the garden can be a lot of work weeding, deadheading, harvesting, planting second crops, mowing, and trimming. Sometimes it seems endless, but now is the time to buckle down and keep your garden well watered.

The trick about watering is to know plants need what and when, but to teach this is impracticable because every yard is different. Different plants, in different places, make for micro-climates that may hold or allow water to evaporate faster or slower. Topography and locations of sun and shade make your yard unique. You the gardener must learn how much water your garden needs. It will never be as easy as "Water this much, this often, and you're done." The best way to know what your landscape needs is to visit your plants. Snoop around your yard and see how things look. The walk and time in nature are good for you, the attention is good for your plants. In time, your plants will become familiar to you and you'll know what they need and when they need it.

The good news is there are indicators when it comes to watering. Plants will talk to us if we are observant. Generally speaking, plants that need water will begin to wilt or curl their leaves for protection, or both. Plants that get too much water will let you know by their leaves turning yellow and falling off or wilt or both.

Observing your plants closely will help you know what is happening. Is there a crispy dry look to the plant, or a soggy, rotting aspect? Touch the soil on top and then dig in a little. If the top is crusty, dusty or cracked, you are likely in a low water condition. If it's smooth, damp or slick, you could be in an over-watering condition. The time you take to inspect the plant and the soil will be a great help in determining what the plant needs.

You need to know that there is a fine line between enough water and too much water. Watering to the point of bogginess will result in soggy roots and there is a real chance that you can kill a plant with kindness, as we say, as it can become oxygen-starved and die. On the other hand, many plants like these conditions. Water plants or bog plants love wet roots and thrive in over-watered conditions. Too little water and plants can just stop growing, wilt, and eventually die.

A few other things are loving the heat, but we don't like them and that's insects and weeds.

The amount of weeds this summer is alarming. Foxtail Barley, Bindweed, Common Amaranthus, Chickweed, Black Medic, Burdock, Quack Grass, Purslane, Canada Thistle and the dreaded Creeping Bellflower are all over the place just to name a few of the hard to deal with weeds.

At my place, we have what we call water and weed Wednesday, although this summer it happens every day 😉. Before we weed the area, it gets a great soaking and then the weeding starts. Do small areas that you can reach easily otherwise you'll compact the soil mucking through it all. So, take it in little bits for that reason and of course, so it's not overwhelming. Another good thing about watering and weeding you will quickly understand how much water it takes to get water more than a couple of inches down. It is always best to get the weeds when they are small, but we all know that some grow super-fast and can get out of hand quickly. When the soil is moist weeds will for sure come out more easily with most of the root intact. This is especially helpful to know when you are trying to dig out Creeping Bellflower.

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Photo by D. Gordon E. Robertson (as posted on Wikipedia)