Happy summer! It’s finally officially here – although it’s felt like it’s been around for weeks.
That early heat – mixed with 30-degree temperature swings from one week to the next – put a lot of early stress on our gardens. It’s time for some TLC.
▪ Keep your plants – especially vegetables – consistently watered (twice a week irrigation for most veggies is sufficient), mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to reduce chances of fungal infection and to conserve moisture. Monitor soil moisture before turning on the hose; you may be able to skip a day. (Those water savings all add up.)
▪ It’s not too late to get a few more veggies in the ground. Plant seeds for corn, lima beans, green beans, okra, parsnips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash and watermelon. They all love heat.
▪ Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more. Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather; keep an eye on the zucchini. It can turn from little green fingers to squash baseball bats in days.
▪ In the flower garden, plant seeds for alyssum, celosia, marigolds, periwinkles, sunflowers and zinnias. Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.
▪ Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to promote a second bloom in fall.
▪ Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Make sure to water well (and deeply) before fertilizing. Otherwise, you may harm instead of help your shrubs.