Hosting for the 4th of July? Start With Your Garden! 5 Tips for Backyard Prep
So, you’re hosting for the 4th of July this year. You have the picnic tables all set up, the fridge stocked … but there’s one important thing that’ll cause instant “fireworks” with your guests: a beautiful garden. This holiday, make sure you spend a little extra time in the garden to prepare, and let it help you host! There are plenty of ways to use your garden to your advantage this Independence Day.
This week, we shared five 4th of July gardening tips on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get you started. Of course, these tips are by no means exhaustive, but we hope they’ll help you make the most of your backyard BBQ! Here’s the roundup:
4th of July Gardening Tip #1: Harvest Your Lettuce Now
Grilling up burgers for your 4th of July BBQ? Don’t forget the lettuce! Tip #1 is to begin harvesting your lettuce now, because it tends to bolt when the temperature gets hotter and the days get longer. This makes July the perfect time to bring your lettuce to the table, especially in those sweltering areas of the country. After harvesting, you can replace your lettuce plants with beans, carrots, cucumbers and more to keep the delicious food coming!
4th of July Gardening Tip #2: Plant Those Tomatoes Deep
If you’re making a healthy salad for your 4th of July BBQ picnic table, tomatoes are the perfect addition. Tip #2 is to plant your tomatoes deep! Tomatoes form roots along the buried stem, and planting deep in the soil helps the plant become nice and established. This is a very special trait – many plants will not thrive if you bury their stems, so celebrate it! You can even plant your tomato sideways underground if it has fallen over or grown into an “L” shape. Just trim off any bottom leaves to give your tomato plant more energy for fattening its fruit!
4th of July Gardening Tip #3: Try Composting!
There’s no better time to mow your yard and clean up your garden than before your guests arrive for a 4th of July gathering! Instead of throwing these unwanted materials in the trash or into the woods, try composting. Tip #3 is to mix together or alternate layers of green materials, like grass clippings, and brown materials, like dead leaves, to make the most of your compost pile. Green materials provide nitrogen and brown materials provide carbon to give a nice even balance. If you have compost ready ahead of time, try adding it to soil with a biochar-based fertilizer for faster results.
4th of July Gardening Tip #4: Install a Drip Irrigation System
Water saving techniques are essential in hot summer months, especially if you’re vacationing away from your garden during the 4th of July. This is even more important if you live in an area with sporadic rain fall. Tip #4 is to set up a drip irrigation system with water going directly to the soil instead of into the air. This prevents early evaporation and keeps plants hydrated. Try a humectant-based product to reduce water and drought stress even further, and mulch to prevent evaporation!
4th of July Gardening Tip #5: Promote Garden Biodiversity
If you’re hosting for the 4th of July, you surely want to impress your guests with a colorful and thriving garden! Tip #5 is to promote biodiversity in your garden to attract beneficial species, like pollinators and predator insects. Mix flowers and vegetables, annuals and perennials, for a garden that will flourish and bring in a number of species in different months. With a nice mix of flowers and vegetables, you’re most likely to bring in a mix of insects, such as certain wasps and ladybugs, to feed on aphids and other “bad” bugs. This sustainable approach is both beneficial and beautiful!
What are your best summer gardening tips? Are you harvesting red, white, and blue crops? Share your best advice! We hope you get to celebrate joyously with friends and family this 4th of July!