July 11, 2007
After 17 years, Kevin's parents are moving from their
beautiful home in Buckeystown, Maryland to Frederick,
Maryland. They purchased their new house last fall and are in
the process of renovating it to make it theirs. Mary will be
leaving her gardens of 17 years. As you will notice while
Kevin's photos this week, she is an accomplished gardener
with quite an array of plantings.
After caring for so
many gardens Mary and Larry are excited about the opportunity to
spend less time in the yard and more time with their children,
grandchildren and travel. We are thrilled about them being able
to do the things they really want to do. Of course at their new
house the gardens will be more tailored to their lifestyle. What
a great idea! Tailor your garden to your lifestyle. If you are
around and want to be in the garden then what you grow will be
different from someone who doesn't want to spend anytime in
their garden at all. Not always an easy decision to make.
I think as
gardeners we all (at some point in our
lives) will have to choose the path of
least resistance and strive to maintain a garden that allows us
to still feel full. Kevin and I both wish them well as they
travel together down their new garden path.
To promote growth, vigor and optimum flowering, iris clumps
may be raised and divided every three years or so. Dig up the
rhizomes carefully to avoid damage to rhizomes and their roots.
Examine them for the presence of worm-like insects called iris
borers, which may seriously damage or destroy the plant. If they
are found, remove them, cut out the affected tissue and dust with
a garden insecticide, such as Sevin, before replanting. Select
sound rhizomes with two or more growing points. Rhizomes may be
cut apart with a sharp knife, or snapped apart by hand. Be sure
to preserve as many rhizome roots as possible. The best time to
divide iris is in mid-summer while the plants are dormant. Late
July through mid August is preferred.
Trees Shedding Bark...
Trees naturally shed bark as they grow. The amount of bark shed
varies significantly from one year to the next and is usually not
noticeable. But some trees, such as sycamore, London Planetree
and silver maple, shed bark in large patches or strips. During a
year with heavy shedding homeowners may become concerned that the
tree is sick or dying. Such usually is not the case. Sycamore and
London Planetree normally show a bright green color on the
branches when the bark first falls off but soon return to normal.
Maple reveals an orange color after shedding but it, too, soon
returns to normal. There is nothing wrong with the tree as long
as the shedding bark simply reveals underlying bark rather than
When Is A Tomato Ripe?
Early July starts tomato ripening time in Kansas City. We’ve all heard
of ‘vine ripe’ flavor but does a tomato have to remain on the
vine until it is completely ripe? The answer is no. When a tomato
reaches a full size and the fruit becomes a pale green, it begins
the ripening process which is regulated by an internal gas
produced within the fruit called ethylene. After the tomato
reaches a stage when it about ˝ green and ˝ pink (called the
‘breaker stage’), a layer of cells forms across the stem of the
tomato- sealing it from the main vine. At this point there is
nothing moving from the plant into the fruit. At this stage the
tomato can be harvested and ripened off the vine with no loss of
flavor, quality or nutrition.
in tomatoes don’t form above 95°
F so tomatoes ripened in extreme heat will have a orange-red
color. Tomatoes held at cooler temperatures will ripen slower.
You can speed up or slow down the ripening process by raising the
temperature (to an optimum of 85°
F) or lowering the temperature (to a minimum of 50°
Tomatoes develop their optimum flavor, nutrition, and color when
the tomato is in the full red ripe stage but this doesn’t have to
occur on the plant!
When To Pick A
Depending on what variety of bell pepper you are growing and
what color you want it to be you have different guidelines to
follow for the timing of your harvest. Green bell
varieties are usually picked when they are fully grown and
mature - 3 to 4 inches long, firm and green. Colored bell
peppers start out green but should be left on the plant until
they develop full flavor and ripen fully to red, yellow, orange
Fall Crops Begin Now...
A fall harvest of cabbage, vine crops, broccoli, cauliflower, and
Brussels sprouts means setting transplants in late July. For
lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, turnips, kale, and spinach, you
should sow seeds in late July to early August.
sprouts are especially good fall crops as their flavor is
enhanced by a mild frost. They are hungry little guys so make
monthly applications of 5-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of
˝ cup per square yard from the time
the plants are 4 inches tall through harvest.
Looking for a good, low exertion chore for the hot weather?
Try inspecting your shade trees and the grass below them. They
may be getting so full of branches that not enough sunlight
filters through to your grass. If your grass is just not making
it under a particular tree you can stand in its shade and make
some notes for future pruning. You'd be surprised how well grass
will respond to even a moderate amount of increased sunlight.
"Some people like to
make a little garden out of life and walk down a path."