There’s a lot to love about living in coastal North Carolina, but one of the best parts is the long growing season. In Wilmington, NC and the surrounding areas, our gardens survive and thrive for three full seasons, which means we can enjoy home grown goodies and beautiful foliage well into winter.
While our abundant sunshine and short, mild winters make it easier to garden, it still requires a certain level of know-how. To make the most of our weather and your garden, here are some tips to keep you going… and going… and going!
How Low Can You Mow?
A neat, trim lawn is one of the best ways to make your house look and feel cared for and inviting. Some people, however, take this too far and shear their grass within an inch of its life. In order to keep your lawn healthy and happy, you should remove no more than one-third of its height during mowing. Any lower and you’ll stress the grass’s root system. Keeping the grass a little on the tall side will also help cut down on weeds, especially as the summer heats up.
Give Your Garden an Inch of Water Each Week
Plump tomatoes, fresh basil, and mammoth zucchini are symbols of summer abundance. The best way to ensure these delicious veggies taste as good as they look is make sure your garden is getting an inch of water a week. If you haven’t been getting a lot of rain, or if it’s been especially hot, this may require an irrigation system or a trusty sprinkler. Just make sure you don’t overwater them—drowning is just as bad as a droughts, as far as your plants are concerned!
Put a Lid On It
Rain barrels are a low cost and environmentally friendly way to water your garden. Unfortunately, they can also be a haven for mosquitos. These tiny pests are annoying any time of the year, but they’re especially dangerous now, as we watch the news for Zika outbreaks and coat ourselves in bug spray. To keep mosquito populations down, use screen wire to cap your rain barrels. Mosquito dunks are another good way to control these annoying insects!
Because our growing season is so long, you can plant early and often! Don’t settle for one harvest—keep the seedlings coming! Make sure to plant a second crop of tomatoes, greens, or onions and you’ll enjoy the bounty. Just make sure you stick with cool weather crops and hot ones during the right seasons—it’s all about the timing!
Save the Bees, Please
As your probably know, the world’s honeybee population is at risk. This is not good, since honeybees are an integral part of our agricultural system. No bees? No food. It’s as simple as that. You can do your part to protect our environment and our food system by avoiding chemical pesticides and using all natural methods to keep your garden safe from pests, such as petroleum based oils and biological fungicides.