Please note: What I write in this space are lessons learned through trial and error, research, and from other gardeners and professionals. I garden in zone 9, but share garden experiences that I believe are relevant to most zones within a reasonable time frame and planting conditions.
All around the Garden: During hot spells keep potted plants, hanging baskets, seedlings, and newly planted shrubs and trees moist—not soggy. Early morning watering will help reduce powdery mildew and black spot. A timer is a great assistant for busy homeowners. A gardener’s best tool, timers can save replacing dead plants, money, and labor.
Keep up with the weeding so plants don’t have to compete for nutrients.
Compost where needed. For weed control and water retention, mulch veggie and landscape beds. Use pine needles, crushed gravel, or volcanic rock where slugs and snails are a problem. They don’t like to crawl on these.
In the vegetable garden: Last chance to plant warm season vegetables. Seedlings of eggplant, squash, tomato, pepper, sweet potatoes, corn, melon, pumpkin, beet, carrot, herbs, and bean should go into the soil the first part of June.
To insure good root development, thin previously planted seedlings. Overcrowded stocks can become weak and disease-prone.
Seedlings need protection from the harsh summer sun. Check tender seedlings several times per day for wilting. Providing shade during peak hours will help prevent heat stress. Shade cloth or cardboard are an inexpensive, temporary source of protection. (Don’t cover plants completely.) Simply prop cloth or cardboard at an angle with stakes so the plants are shaded. An umbrella is another quick and easy method. Remove each day when the temperature lowers.
Handpick tomato hornworms (Manduca species). Feed to the chickens or drive a spade through them.
In the landscape:
Continue to cut back spring-blooming perennials through mid-July.
After lavender blooms have halted, do a light pruning to maintain shape.
Divide three-year-old irises. They don’t like to be crowded.
Feed camellias with a fertilizer designed for camellias.
Fertilize deciduous trees and shrubs, and lawns. After applying fertilizer according to package instructions, water well.
Keep surveying roses and snapdragons for mildew. (A preventive product is better.)
Look for caterpillars on potato vines. Keep your eyes open for aphids and other pests.
To promote repeat blooms and to keep plants looking their best, deadhead regularly.
Replace spring annuals with summer annuals.
For a fuller plant with more fall blooms, pinch half the height off chrysanthemums before July.
Keep birdbaths and feeders clean.
Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre