Is it hot enough? While still technically spring, that flurry of triple-digit temperatures prompted rapid growth in the summer veggie garden. Warm weather also brought out lots of hungry bugs. Stay vigilant to protect your young plants.
▪ Watch out for stink bugs on tomatoes, squash and developing fruit. An effective way to control them is to pick them off by hand and dispose of them, preferably by dropping them into soapy water. Or you can suck them up with a hand-held vacuum dedicated to that purpose. Make sure to wear gloves while hunting. Stink bugs really do stink and will stain your fingers.
▪ Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.
▪ Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.
▪ Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as 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, it’s the right time to plant pumpkins, radishes, squash and sunflowers. Make sure to keep seedlings evenly moist.
▪ Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena. Plant seeds for sunflowers, asters, cosmos, salvia and zinnias.