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Three tips for planting an awesome summer garden

By Claire Briggs

Summer is that time of year when everyone likes to spend time in the backyard or on the balcony, and we look for any excuse to do it – it’s one of the beauties of owning real estate in Australia. If you’re looking forward to doing a bit of gardening this summer, but have no idea where to start, these three simple tips will get you on your way.

Plant useful things

It’s easy to go out and grab some potted colour and simply put it in a hole somewhere, but realistically this won’t do much for you in the long run. Aside from spending some time planning and sketching out your garden layout, it’s important to think about how useful you can make your garden as well.
Planting veggies is one way to get the most out of your garden this summer. Aside from improving your backyard, and giving you an enjoyable project to undertake, a veggie garden will supply your dinner table with a constant stream of fresh salad ingredients.
If you had a head start in the last month or so, you may have some spring “legacy” vegetables to enjoy in the next few months, If you’re starting afresh, there are plenty of summer plants you can enjoy, most notably tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, etc.
Other useful things to have in your garden are flowers which give off a cool fragrance in the evening – these can make long summer nights much more enjoyable. If you’re really thinking ahead, plant a couple trees that you could hang a hammock off in a few summers’ time.

Protect your garden

You wouldn’t leave the door to your house open all summer, so don’t invite unwanted guests into your garden either! An easily constructed netting cover for your veggie plot will ensure birds don’t enjoy your produce before you do.
Use weed mats in flower beds, and top with mulch or ground cover to keep those pesky weeds out of your beautiful banks of vibrant colour. Slugs and other pests can be a nuisance, so keep an eye out for these and get rid of them in as organic a way as possible. For example, try and avoid spraying your plants with anything you wouldn’t want your kids to get in their mouths.

Use your space wisely

Remember that plants grow and will not stay small for long. For this reason, make sure you spread your plants out. Although it may look plain in the beginning, it won’t look overcrowded and busy in a month or two.
If you only have a small space to begin with, building a small planter box can give you everything you need for a functional veggie garden in restricted areas. Use bamboo or trellises to raise tomatoes and beans over other plants.
Vertical gardening is a great idea for indoor herbariums or balcony gardens for those with apartments.

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