Now is the time to plant your summer garden
A warm spring means plants are ready for planting
If you haven’t planted your summer garden yet, now is the time to start thinking about it. Here’s what to keep in mind this year.
Long-range forecasts show this summer will be a hot one. However, unlike last summer, we’re expecting near-normal amounts of rain.
How to handle the heat? Since this spring has been so warm, you should start planting now if you haven’t already.
Don Toppett, president of the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners, said to plant about a month ahead of schedule this year since most plants are blooming early.
"Many plants in our area, like the knockout rose, have already bloomed," Toppett said. "So go ahead and get your plants in the ground now."
Toppett said when you’re shopping for heat-resistant plants, remember these two words: “Zone 8.” That’s the zone the ArkLaTex falls into, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Hardiness Zone Map, pictured above. Consider planting some of the best heat-resistant plants, like oleanders and lantanas.
Near-normal rain is a good thing, but Toppett said even with the rain, watering should still be the most important item on your agenda for summer plant care.
Water your plants slowly and over long periods of time. Avoid overwatering, and learn to “listen” to your plant.
"Let the plant actually talk to you,” Toppett said. “That is, when you see the leaves begin to wilt and droop, it's time to water."
Mulch is the key to keeping plants from wilting in the heat. Toppett said almost any type of mulch, like pine straw or pine bark, will help your plants retain moisture and withstand the heat.
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