Summer is here and so are the 99-degree days. We need to prepare for another year of drought. Most of all, the landscape needs one inch of water each week. Potted plants, except succulents and large house plants, should be watered each day.
Established vegetables, flowers, and fruit trees should be fed on a regular basis. Organic alternatives are cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, seaweed extract and compost tea. Every two weeks is a good time to feed. Trees, shrubs, and lawns should have been fertilized by this time.
This is the beginning of vegetable harvest. Pick your vegetables in their prime. Cucumbers, eggplants, and squash, if left too long on the vine, will become tough and bitter to taste. All greens should be picked while they are young and tender. If greens are cooked too long, they will lose their healthy properties. If you have spider mites on the tomatoes, spray with seaweed mixture every 4-5 days.
Leafrollers have hit many of the plants such as cannas, tree leaves, vinca ground cover, plus others. Spray several times a week with B.T., Bacillas thurengsis. Leafrollers are very small worms that do a lot of damage. I usually use the weed eater to remove the dead vinca leaves. Rake them up but don’t add them to the compost pile. This will cause the leaves to come back out. Feed and water the plants after removal.
If you are concerned about tomatoes not setting fruit, remember that high temperatures at night cause the large tomatoes to not set. The cherry tomatoes will continue to set. Take cuttings of the large tomatoes and grow them for the fall garden.
If you can find transplants of okra, there is still time for the plants to produce. Sweet potatoes and summer peas may be planted now. Black-eyed peas make a good cover crop for your garden. Plus, they make a fine meal.
Winter and early spring flowers are on their way out. Replace them with summer flowers. There are many new plants this year. The iris and larkspur have finished their blooming. It is time to pull the larkspur and dig the iris. Save them and move to a different place or give to friends.
This is the time to plant bermuda seed or buffalo seed. The seed must be kept damp until the seed germinates. You may have to water twice a day. Only seed a small area at a time. When that area has germinated, seed another. The same goes for sod. Sod must be kept wet until the roots have made contact with the soil. This is the reason it is so important to use a roller on new sod. The roller helps the roots make contact.
Martha Gosnell gave some very good advice in last week’s “Trash Talk." The heat can be your enemy. Protect yourself from the sun when you are outdoors.
The Lavender Festival begins Friday, June 8th. Invite your friends and have a good time. See you next month!