Gardening Season Has Begun

An unusually cold and rainy spring has finally given way to warm and sunny weather in most of the country. If you haven’t yet planted your summer #vegetable or #flower #garden, there is no time like the present.

While starting seeds indoors is the #thriftiest option, you’ll likely need to turn to the local garden center for plants that are ready to go into the ground. Now is the perfect time to plant summer-maturing plants such as corn and tomatoes.

All is not lost if you start a little late, Gilmour says. You can plant a couple of weeks late in the season, or choose vegetables, fruits and flowers that thrive and produce late in the growing season.

You’ll need to prepare the soil for whatever plants you pick. Vegetables grow best in rich, crumbly, loam soil, says Family Handyman. Tilling and amending sandy or clay soils with compost, peat, manure and other soil builders can help plants thrive.

After planting, press the soil surrounding your seedling firmly in place and water as needed. You may need to support plants such as tomatoes (which grow too tall to support their own weight) or send out vines (like grapes and beans).

Why do all of this? Because you can often get a much more flavorful and nutritious end product than you’d ever be able to buy at the grocery store at a fraction of the price. We at The Organizing Blog plant a variety of tomatoes every year for that simple fact. Is there anything better than a #homegrown tomato?

If you prefer decorative gardening, a perennial garden only requires a little bit of thinning each year. That said, you’ll want to weed and tend any beds soon, and help new plants get established to fill in any bare spots.

Container gardens, too, are an excellent option for those low on space. To slash the cost of getting started or adding to a container garden, shop the #thrift stores supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org for lightly used pots and window boxes.

Whatever you decide to grow, gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby that requires only a little bit of attention each week. And the time to get started is now!

Lighten Up Your Interiors for Summer

Just like you’d winterize your home by putting out extra blankets and burning scented candles, you can #summerize your space by bringing a #cooler, lighter touch to your furnishings, says L’Image Design Studio. First, eliminate excess #knickknacks that make your space feel #cluttered or constricting. Opt for lighter colors and swap out heavy, dark blankets and comforters for lighter ones. Give your houseplants some outdoor time. Wash the windows and replace heavy drapes with sheers. And finally, store any off-season items you won’t be using in labeled bins or donate them if you don’t foresee using them again.

Get Your Home Ready for Outdoor Living

One critical part of #summerizing a home is to make sure all of your outdoor spaces are inviting. Wash your outdoor furniture and deep-clean the grill, says Show Me Home. Wash the windows and sweep up leaves, branches and debris. Trim bushes and set your lawnmower’s blades to three inches or higher to encourage root growth and avoid a scorched lawn. Mulch the garden beds to help them retain moisture and inhibit weeds and insects. Add a few herbs or annuals to bare spots to lend color and foliage. “And finally, park yourself a lawn chair, grab a cold beverage and call it a day.”

Keep Cool While Saving Energy

To save energy while keeping #cool during the hot #summer months, follow the same principles you would in preparing for the cold winter months, experts told The Evening Tribune. Add insulation and seal up leaks to make your HVAC system operate more efficiently. Close the blinds on the south and west sides of your house to keep out the sun’s #heat, cook outdoors on a grill rather than using an indoor oven, and use the washer and dryer only after dark, when outdoor temperatures cool down. Finally, use fans even if you have air conditioning to help circulate that cool, dehumidified air.

It’s Time to Summerize

After a cool and wet spring, warm weather is set to blanket most regions of the country this week. But you’ll want to keep that hot air outside by #summerizing your home, if you haven’t already. Summerizing is just like winterizing, says doityourself, except that some of the appliances are different. Clean the air conditioning units and replace filters. Fix any missing or faulty caulk and weatherstripping. Put a towel underneath doors to prevent cool air form escaping. And finally, make sure that ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise to direct cooler air downward.