~ May 26, 2010 ~
Memorial weekend is upon us and it already feels like summer. This past week has been a reminder of how hot it can actually get.
The sun has been beating down on me while I toil away in my gardens. So much so that I have had to take a minute here and there
to sit down inside to cool off for awhile. The heat I can stand, but it is the humidity that really bothers me as I grow older. I'm
not complaining as I really do prefer the heat over the cold. Do you think this is a prelude to a hot, steamy summer? Only time
will tell. If I remember correctly, last year we had a couple of weeks of really hot weather, temperatures and humidity into the
high 90's. And then, a cool front would push through giving us a much needed break. It sounds as if this weekend will be warm
and enjoyable. A time to be with friends and family to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.
Our friends at
Johnson Farms are having a blowout of a sale this weekend. They will be open Memorial Day from 9-3 with 40% off
everything in stock (except bagged soil). Annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, planters, decorative pots, as well as fruit and
vegetable plants. Wow, incredible savings at a perfect time of year. Visit their website for more details and don't forget to
tell them that you are a Savvygardener.com subscriber and how glad you are that they help support this newsletter.
Timing Is Everything...
Sometimes the hardest part of growing great vegetables is knowing when
they're ready for harvest. Timing is everything as they say and
that's certainly true for your garden's bounty. To make your job a
little easier we've compiled a list of common garden vegetables and the
guidelines you should follow to determine if they are ready for harvest.
You will find
When to Harvest Vegetables in the Features
section of our website.
Yes, you can have too much rain. Locally heavy downpours have leached fertilizers
below the root zone of many of our vegetables and additional nitrogen will be
needed so rapidly growing plants are not slowed down. If the color of your plants
is pale and the growth is less than expected, a sidedressing of fertilizer
may be in order. Use a fertilizer that is composed primarily of nitrogen such as nitrate
of soda (16-0-0). Sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of the plant but about
six inches from the plant itself.
So some of your perennials have bloomed and they are starting to look as if
they are finished? Hold on a minute... If you trim off the dead blooms they
will likely bloom again! I'm talking about roses, bachelor buttons, coreopsis
and dianthus (just to name a few). Sure, it's extra work (especially dianthus,
it's wickedly time-consuming to trim all of those flowers back) but the reward
is well worth it once you see them re-blooming. If you are not sure whether your
perennial will bloom again cut it back anyway to keep a neat appearance in the
You should also deadhead petunias, snapdragons, geraniums, marigolds and
zinnias. This will prevent seed formation and promote continued flowering.
Erupting Soon In A Garden Near You...
This time of year it's not uncommon to have a period of wet weather followed
by some rather warm early summer temperatures. If you have mulched areas in
your garden, that unique combination is going to lead to something that's pretty
disgusting to look at - slime mold eruptions. You see, slime mold spores will
grow and expand (at an alarming rate) until they "erupt" over the surface of the
mulch. It's not very pretty to look at but rest assured it's harmless. Try to
scoop it up whole (so you don't inadvertently release more spores) and dispose
of it in a compost pile or trash can.
It's A Wrap...
Ever wonder how gardeners produce the perfect blooms that are entered in flower shows?
Our flowers look great but they don't all hold up to extra-close inspection.
Here's one secret to perfectly beautiful blooms:
- Start with a piece of spun-bonded, polyester row cover material.
- Cut a square large enough to cover the desired bud.
- Loosely wrap each bloom with the fabric gathering the edges with strong
thread so the material is snug against the stem.
- Keep the bloom wrapped until cutting time.
This nifty trick will prevent insects from getting to your prized buds.
Rose Sawfly larvae can really gobble up the foliage of your roses and eventually bore
into the rose stems to really cause some damage. The larvae are the result of rose slugs
that overwintered in garden debris. The best control is cleaning up debris before winter
sets in. Once they have started causing trouble however, it's time to resort to insecticidal
soaps or Sevin.
Heading Off Seedheads...
Cool season turfgrasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass are
currently producing seedheads - a natural phenomenon triggered by the current
day length. Seedheads are a nuisance for several reasons:
- They grow quickly and unevenly detracting from the appearance of a lawn.
- The seed stalk is tougher than grass blades so they do not cut cleanly except
with the sharpest of mower blades.
- After mowing, the grass may also appear a lighter green to yellow because of the
exposed seed stalks.
- Turfgrass plants also expend a lot of energy producing seedheads and turf
density may also decrease slightly as a result.
The most effective way to control seedheads is through frequent mowing with a sharp
mower blade. Avoid the temptation to lower your cutting height as doing so will cause the rest
of your turf to suffer as summer approaches.
"Heat, ma'am! it was so dreadful here,
that I found there was nothing left for it
but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones. "
~ Sydney Smith, Lady Holland's Memoir