Watch out for stink bugs on tomatoes and squash. No spray is necessary; an effective way to control them is to pick them off by hand and dispose of them. But make sure to wear gloves. Stink bugs really do stink.
• Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat and keeps roots cooler. That means less plant stress. This is especially important during drought.
• Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.
• Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.
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• Mulch, mulch, mulch. As the weather continues to heat up, mulching helps conserve water while keeping your plants’ roots cool and moist. When applying mulch, leave a circle around trunks or main stems to avoid crown rot.
• Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladioluses and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.
• If you still have room in your veggie garden, transplant seedlings for tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and squash. Look for varieties that mature in 75 days or less.
• From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers. Make sure to keep seedlings evenly moist.
– Debbie Arrington