News Treehugger Voices How I Prepare My Garden for the Summer My top eight tips for summer-proofing your garden. By Elizabeth Waddington Elizabeth Waddington Facebook LinkedIn Writer, Permaculture Designer, Sustainability Consultant University of St Andrews (MA) Elizabeth has worked since 2010 as a freelance writer and consultant covering gardening, permaculture, and sustainable living. She has also written a number of books and e-books on gardens and gardening. Learn about our editorial process Updated May 31, 2021 05:04PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Zbynek Pospisil / Getty Images News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive As summer rapidly approaches, you are no doubt busy at work in your garden sowing and planting out. But as well as thinking about harvests later in the year, there is also some other preparatory work you should be doing. Here are my top tips for preparing for summer in your garden: Make Sure You Have a Rainwater Harvesting System in Place If you do not already harvest rainwater from your home, it is important to think about setting up a rainwater collection system right away. Make sure you have a system in place to catch and use the rainwater that falls on your property. It is especially important to get this set up before summer arrives, since in many areas, of course, summer can be a time when rainwater is in short supply. The more water you can collect before summer arrives, the better. And you need to be able to take advantage of any spring and summer showers. Set Up Summer Irrigation Systems As well as thinking about where the water for your garden comes from in the first place, you also need to think about how you will best utilize the water that is available. Now is a good time to prepare irrigation systems for your garden if you have not done so already. Remember that strategies such as drip irrigation will use a lot less water and deliver water more effectively to where it is needed than sprinkler-type irrigation. And, from clay pots to wine bottle water globes, there is a range of small-scale water-wise solutions to consider. Plant For Biomass for Summer Mulches and for Chopping and Dropping Remember when sowing seeds and planting, that you should not just be planting edible crops for primary yields. Planting quick-growing and dynamic accumulator plants can provide you with valuable natural resources for mulches and for chopping and dropping which will be particularly useful over the summer months. So make sure you have the plants to enable these activities. Plant for Biodiversity (Pollination and Pest Control) You should also be thinking about sowing and growing companion plants. Create diverse planting schemes that will make it easier for you to maintain fertility and conserve water in your garden over time. Diverse planting schemes will also help you bring in the pollinators you need to pollinate your crops and the predatory species which will help you keep pest populations in check. Make Liquid Plant Feeds To Feed Plants Organically Over the Summer Months You should also be thinking now, and over the coming months, about sowing, growing, and harvesting or foraging plants that can be used for making liquid feeds. Organic liquid feeds can be beneficial for giving plants a boost in the summer. Think about making a compost tea as a general-purpose feed. And also consider making liquid feeds for flowering and fruiting plants with comfrey, weeds, or other plants that are rich in particular nutrients. If you start making your liquid feeds soon, they will be ready when they are needed. Sow Little and Often For Successional Harvests As we segue into summer, another thing to think about is continuing to sow little and often. Successional sowing can help you make the most of your space, avoid bare soil, and harvest as much as possible while avoiding gluts and food waste. Collect Recipe Ideas for Summer Harvests Spring and summer are obviously very busy times in many gardens. But a little preparation now could help you make the most of the harvests to come. When preparing for summer in your garden, take a little time to seek out new recipe ideas so you are ready when harvests roll around. The better prepared you are, the more you will be able to make of the produce you grow. Prepare to Preserve Summer Produce It is also a good idea to make sure you know how to preserve summer produce, to use during the rest of the year. Summer is a time of abundance. But sustainable gardeners should think long-term, and plan ahead for the less abundant times to come. Now is a good time to learn more about canning, dehydration, and other methods of food preservation—as you may not have time when summer is actually in full swing. Of course, there is a lot to do in your garden and to prepare for summer's bounty. But thinking about the above should mean that you can avoid many of the common issues, and make the most of all your garden can provide.