I often think of the first line of the George Gershwin song “Summertime” when I step out into the garden on a warm summer morning. “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”
Living in the garden can be easy in the summertime if we spent the springtime getting everything planted and mulched. But even if we finish all that in the spring, we have no idea what Mother Nature will throw at our gardens in the summertime. Drought? Heat? Hail? Swarms of locusts? Bumper crops of weeds? I guess I’ve seen a bit of each of them during my decades of gardening but I mostly remember lovely days, gentle rains, and easy to pull weeds. But no matter what, I always think, “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

False sunflowers are easy to grow and easy to pull if they self-sow too much

I hope the big hosta leaves don’t attract hail to my garden this year

My vegetable garden is in full swing in July. I’m checking tomato plants regularly for the dreaded tomato hornworms and any signs of blight. I water the garden regularly, which is supposed to help control blossom end rot on the tomatoes. Blossom end rot often shows up on the first few ripe tomatoes. I just toss those tomatoes onto the compost pile and wait a bit longer. By the end of the month, I almost always have more tomatoes than I can eat, which means I have some to eat, some to give away to lucky friends and family and some to make into tomato sauce.

Tomato hornworms blend in with the tomato plants.

 

The first cherry tomatoes never make it to the kitchen. I eat them in the garden

Last year I went crazy planting all kinds of zinnias in my garden. They were easy to sow directly in the garden from seed and within a matter of weeks, I had dozens if not hundreds of zinnias in bloom. As I recall, the soil where I grew them was just average and tended to dry out a bit between rains. The zinnias didn’t seem to mind that one bit. Once the zinnias started to bloom, the bees quickly found them. I shared many pictures of the different blooms on social media and hopefully convinced a few others to also grow zinnias in their gardens. After the successful zinnia crop last year, I’ve planted more this year and look forward to seeing the first blooms in July in my garden where it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy.

 Zinnias come in a variety of colors and some have stripes

Bees love zinnias