Close out July with some mid-summer clean-up. A little effort outdoors now will pay big dividends later this summer and into fall. Not only will your garden look tidy, but you’ll beat back bad bugs and plant disease.
▪ Clean up around fruit trees. Pick up dropped fruit to prevent brown rot. Removing those rotten peaches and other fruit also will cut down on several insects such as fig beetles that gravitate to overripe or fallen fruit.
▪ Remove spent flowers on daylilies, roses and other summer bloomers. That clean-up will help prompt more flowers later this summer.
▪ After deadheading, fertilize roses to kick-start another bloom cycle. Remember to give them a deep watering before feeding.
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▪ Dig and divide overcrowded irises and bulbs after the foliage dies back.
▪ Pick off caterpillars from tomatoes and other vegetables before they have time to do significant damage.
▪ Keep your squash, peppers and eggplant picked. That stimulates more production.
▪ Feed vegetable plants bone meal or other fertilizers high in phosphate to stimulate more blooms and fruiting.
▪ Start thinking about fall vegetables. Transplant seedlings for broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and celery.
▪ Sow seeds for head lettuce, parsnips, rutabaga and turnips.