#10: Daily & Weekly Tasks for a Thriving Summer Garden

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Planting your garden or getting a garden started for the first time can be a big task. And even though I am all about keeping things as simple as possible and automating garden tasks to free up time, there are still daily and weekly tasks that need to happen in order for your garden to really thrive.

So in today’s show I’m going to be covering all of the most important garden tasks to work on daily and weekly in order to have the most success this season!

Podcast cover for an episode about garden tasks to complete for a thriving summer garden.

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As I mentioned in the intro I like to keep things as simple as possible and automate tasks whenever possible. So I want to start there because if there are tasks you can automate now early on in the season and that is going to really set you up for success. 

We can’t add more hours to our day but we can do things each day that might take more time in the moment to set up, but will free up time in the future. 

What are some tasks you could work on in any area of life that might take awhile to accomplish but would save you time in the future?

Time Saving Garden Tasks

Here are a few great examples of tasks you can do now that will save you time and effort later on in the garden.

  • You can set your garden up on irrigation and a timer just once and that will free up hours spent watering every week for every future gardening season.
  • You can put down mulch in your garden beds to suppress weeds and retain moisture which means less time weeding and watering. 
  • You can put down gravel or bark in your garden walkways to suppress weeds. I prefer gravel because it doesn’t break down, but either is better than nothing. 
  • You can add lots of herbs and flowers throughout your garden to help deter pests and attract beneficial insects which will help prevent pest issues in your garden.
  • You can build trellises to grow plants vertically which maximizes your space, makes harvesting easier, and creates more air circulation for your plants which prevents pest and disease issues.

But of all these things I’d start with setting your garden up with irrigation and a timer. I realize if you have a small container garden then maybe watering is quick and easy for you and it may even be something you enjoy doing and that’s great.

But there is usually a time for all of us no matter how big or small our garden is when we want to go out of town, or we have a long day at work, or it’s just so hot outside that we don’t want to water our plants. When we have everything set up on irrigation and a timer we have the freedom to physically skip watering. 

If you’re interested in getting this set up, I have an entire course called Effortless Irrigation that will walk you through everything.

But now let’s get into all of the daily and weekly tasks that will help you have a successful summer gardening season.

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Task 1 – Adjust Your Watering Frequency

As a general overview, in the beginning of the season when plants are young or when you’re waiting for seeds to germinate you need to water for shorter periods of time but more frequently to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. 

But as plants mature it’s beneficial to water slowly for longer periods of time, and possibly less frequently to encourage healthy root systems. 

But this also changes with the weather and you should always test your soil moisture before watering.

For example we had an incredible month of May this year here in the Central Valley of CA. We had a few pretty warm days but for the most part it was in the 70’s and 80’s and so there were many times throughout the month that I only watered every few days. 

What’s great about this is that I have a digital timer that can be set to water on whatever frequency I choose, so as the weather warms up and I know everything needs to be watered consistently I will set the actual timer.

But in the beginning of the season I just use the manual setting and push the button to water for a set period of time on the days when needed.

These are the two timers I use and recommend,

Task 2 – Weed Often

The next important garden task that I try to accomplish daily or at least weekly is weeding. It’s one of my least favorite tasks but it has to be done.

I know this can often be one of the most overwhelming tasks for gardeners and so I want to give you a few tips to make this easier. 

Start With Weeds Near Your Plants

If you only have minimal time, start with the weeds that are growing near your plants. I’ll often find myself knocking down big weeds that are along the perimeter of my garden that are not truly affecting the growth of plants.

So if I only have 10 minutes to spend weeding that is not where time should be spent. I should be pulling weeds in my garden beds that are competing for nutrients and water with my actual vegetables and fruits. 

Mulch Garden Beds and Walkways

Next up is put down mulch. I have really long in ground rows where I put down mulched up leaves from this last fall. Then in my raised garden beds I have garden straw.

The mulch really makes a huge difference. In one of my long in ground rows, I ran out of mulched up leaves and I don’t have anything planted so it is currently bare soil and there are tons of weeds growing. 

But in the two rows right right next to it that are planted, getting water, and do have mulch, there are minimal weeds. 

Don’t Underestimate the Power of 5 Minutes Per Day

And then my last tip for weeding is to not underestimate what just a few minutes per day can do. If you have a lot of weeds, don’t look at the full picture. That can’t make you feel really overwhelmed.

Just accomplish a small area each chance you get and before you know it there will be fewer and fewer weeds.

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Task 3 – Support Plants When Needed

The next task to help your garden grow healthy this year is to support your plants as needed. Many plants like tomatoes can get really big and without support they will fall over which means the plant won’t be as healthy and the fruit can spoil.

I really don’t like tomato cages but they are better than nothing. But they are very flimsy and your tomato plant is going to outgrow the cage in no time.

However, the tomato cages are great for pepper plants. But when it comes to tomatoes I like to use something really sturdy that I can continue to tie branches to.

We have our tomatoes growing along a cattle panel arch. But you can also just set up a single cattle panel with t-posts and that would be a great trellis. Then as you check on your plants weekly you will need to continue tying up branches as the plants get bigger. 

Tomatillos are another plant that will benefit from support and so I also have my tomatillos growing along the cattle panel arch as well. But many plants will benefit from support of some kind and so pay attention to their growth habits and make sure to tie them up or stake them as needed.

Task 4 – Prune Sparingly

The next tip during summer is to prune sparingly. The thing with pruning your vegetable plants is that you don’t have to do it at all if you don’t want to. But if you do prune, don’t overdo it. 

Watch this video here to learn more, To Prune or Not to Prune Tomatoes.

However, some pruning is great to keep plants healthy. For example, with my tomato plants I like to prune off any branches that are touching the soil because that will help prevent disease issues.

It’s common to see many videos of gardeners pruning off all of the suckers and I don’t like to do this because suckers will produce more fruiting branches which means the more suckers you prune, the less fruit you will have.

You also want to make sure you leave enough foliage to protect your fruit from the sun. Here in Zone 9 our summers are really hot and so the more foliage left on the plant to keep the tomatoes out of the direct sun, the better. 

You can also prune squash and cucumbers.

I have two videos below where you can see the exact process.

Task 5 – Harvest Often

The next important task is to harvest. We put so much work into growing our plants to get fresh fruits and vegetables but during the hot summer harvesting can actually feel like a challenge. 

So make a plan to harvest early or late in the day when the temperatures cool off so it’s more enjoyable. But also make sure to check on plants often so that you harvest at peak size. 

For example,

Tomatoes and peppers are slower to ripen and can be left on the plant longer.

Herbs need to be harvested often. Watch this video here to learn more, The Secret to Pruning Herbs to Promote Growth.

But many varieties grow really fast and should be checked on daily. A few common summer vegetables include okra, summer squash, and cucumbers.

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Task 6 – Observe Your Garden

The last important task is to observe. This may seem obvious but when we check on our garden frequently and notice changes we can take action quickly.

For example, you may notice a plant is getting over or under watered. A pest or disease is appearing. A plant is getting too much sun. Or a vegetable or fruit is almost ready to harvest.

When we notice these things we can take the next steps before it’s too late.

Summary

Here is a quick recap of everything we covered in this podcast episode.

  • Automate tasks
  • Adjust watering frequency
  • Weed often
  • Mulch garden beds
  • Support plants when needed
  • Prune sparingly
  • Harvest often
  • Observe


I hope these tips help you to have a thriving summer garden.

Join the Zone 9 Garden Club

Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is reach out to other gardeners for help. I would love for you to join the Zone 9 Garden Club!

As a member you get,

  • Monthly video garden tours and trainings
  • Monthly growing calendars for zone 9
  • Timely harvesting & planting tips
  • Access to an active community off of social media
  • A resource library full of gardening courses and guides
  • And more!

Podcast Feedback

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I really appreciate the feedback and it really helps the show get found by other gardeners.

Podcast Episode Resources and Links Mentioned

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