The Dog Days of summer are here but there are things we must do if you are a gardener.
My tomatoes and peppers have been slow producing this year. The nights are too hot to set the fruit and it is difficult to fight the dry weather and insects. Most of my plants are in good shape so I’ll leave them and expect a good fall crop.
Hand water trees and shrubs that were planted this spring. Lawn irrigation will not be enough. Let the hose run slowly for several hours to saturate the root areas. They must not dry out. If you can postpone planting trees and shrubs until September, your success rate will be better. Before planting anything, fill the planting hole with water to make certain the root ball is soaked before covering the plant. Even planting small 2-4 inch plants, it assures that the root ball or root mass will become saturated. Continue to keep the planting area moist. Use mulch but don’t place it against the stem or trunk.
This month you can seed pumpkin, okra, winter squash, sweet corn, cucumbers, black-eyed peas and peppers. Set out transplants of eggplant and tomatoes. Use fast maturing varieties such as Surefire or Sunpride. When planting transplants this time of year, they must be protected from the scorching sun. Use a row fabric or some type of covering to protect them until they are established. Start seed flats of cool season transplants such as broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, etc.
Remember to weed, feed, water and check for insects. Fertilize hanging baskets and patio pots regularly. During this season they need watering once or twice a day.
Let any unused garden space lay fallow and add compost and leaf mulch until you are ready to plant. Add cottonseed meal or rock phosphate and compost to each planting hole.