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How to Care for your Garden in Unpredictable Summer Weather

yaquina, flickr
The cooler summer the Midwest has been experiencing has delayed the growth and maturity of many garden plants.

As temperatures hover in the low 60s downtown throughout this summer with only a few warm days, there were some people who theorized that maybe we skipped summer altogether and jumped straight from spring to fall.

That might be cause for concern if you have a garden growing – we’d hate to have a killing frost in August this year.  Fortunately, that probably won’t happen.  But the temperature swings are a concern for Lake Effect's gardening contributor, Melinda Myers.

"It’s going to be another interesting year in terms of what the harvest is going to be like, and I think that is always the exciting and challenging part of gardening. We’re trying to guess what nature’s going to throw our way and how those plants are going to deal with that," explains Myers.

Due to the cooler weather, people started their gardening much later than usual this year.

Myers explains that the cold spill has been good for some of your garden plants such as lettuce and other greens, but not all of them. Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers need warmth to grow. The colder weather slows down the maturity of the plants and the moisture can sometimes cause diseases on the plants. Myers suggests mulching as an easy solution.

"Mulching to help conserve moisture to keep that temperature even is a good idea," says Myers. "It also helps trap soil born fungi, so it doesn't splash up onto the plant."

Mulching helps in a lot of ways, but Myer's key advice for people waiting for their garden is simply to be patient - the time to pick your veggies will soon come.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine.