Summer Gardening Tips
- Control caterpillars on broccoli and cabbage plants by handpicking or use Thuricide® – containing Bt. Bt is short for Bacillus thuringiensis, a natural bacterium. It can be sprayed on the surfaces of vegetables to provide temporary protection to protect against insects throughout the life span of the plants. This is a liquid formulation of bacteria. Thuricide® controls caterpillars, loopers, cabbageworms, hornworms, leaf folders and leaf rollers. And the best thing... it won’t harm beneficial insects.
- Give vegetable plants a boost by feeding them with a non-burning organic fertilizer such as Happy Frog Organic Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer or Organic Dynamite Mater Magic for tomatoes. This is especially important in the hot weather. Fertilizers add back many of the minerals that get leached out by frequent watering.
- Plant all warm season herbs and vegetables now, including basil and tomatoes (tomatoes and other veggies can be planted through the first week of July). Set stakes in to support the tomato plants at the time of planting.
- Blueberries and raspberries are acid loving plants. Fertilize them with an acidic fertilizer to increase harvest. And, remember adequate water is essential.
- Strawberries are in full flower and berry production now, keep them well watered and fertilize with Organic Happy frog Fruit and Flower fertilizer.
- Continue to pinch flowers off of herbs as they grow.
- In early July, plant bush beans, summer winter squash , cucumber and pumpkin seeds.\
- Protect ripening fruits from birds by covering plants with netting..
Annuals, Perennials & Bulb Care
- It is normal for some perennials to die back in the summer such as old fashioned bleeding heart, spiderwort, oriental poppies and many wildflowers such as trillium. Clean up withered foliage to prevent attracting slugs.
- Fill in the gaps where the spent perennials were with heat loving annuals.
- Remove dead stalks from spent lilies and continue to deadhead other blooming perennials, this encourages the plant to put more energy into strengthening the roots. Strong roots ensure the plant’s return.
- Daylilies can be dug up and divided at in late July or early August. Some reblooming varieties might not rebloom after transplant. Varieties that do not rebloom should have all dead stalks removed. Remove any yellow or dying foliage.
- Continue cutting back or pinching the buds on mums and asters until mid to late July for more compact plants and to prevent early blooming. feed with a good all purpose fertilizer such as Happy Frog or Dr. Earth to promote bushy growth.
- Monitor the watering of all plants. If you are not sure how much to water, use rain gauges. They can help assure your plants are getting the moisture they need. This is especially important in the dry hot weather. Check container plants and hanging baskets daily and water deeply.
- Apply mulch to a depth of 2”. This will conserve moisture, discourage weeds, and enrich the soil as it decays.]
- Holes in your hosta leaves can be a sign of slug or snail damage. For organic gardening use Slug Magic scattered under affected plants. Or, you can put out a pan of beer to attract slugs. They crawl in and drink themselves to death!
- During dry spells, be sure to water on a regular basis.
- To deter deer, rabbits and squirrels, use long lasting Bobbex Spray.
- Continue removing weeds from beds, lawns and borders. Use RoundUp (a non-selective herbicide) directly to weeds, or dig them out being sure to remove the roots. Once they go to seed, they spread rapidly. Remember birds carry and spread weed seed! Preen applied on top of mulch acts as a barrier to weed seeds.
- Start fertilizing summer annuals with John’s Recipe fertilizer, Espoma Plant-tone, Nature’s Source or Dr. Earth Golden Bloom for large summer flowers.
- Deadhead early blooming perennials to prevent disease and spread mulch to control weeds.
- Remove dead flower heads, pruning to just above an outward facing 5-leaf stem.
- Plant seeds of summer annuals like sunflowers and zinnias directly in the ground.
- Complete planting borders and divide overcrowded perennials. To reduce transplant shock use a root stimulator.
- Spray RoundUp on actively growing weeds or grass in your beds and borders. Target the weed as RoundUP is non-selective.
- Slugs hide under large leaves, create a slug barrier with Bonide Slug Magic regularly around your hostas and other perennials, or share a beer with the slimy things. Fill a pie pan with beer and place it in the garden. Slugs are attracted to beer. They crawl in, drink and drown!
- Use Bonide Garden Dust for aphids and/or caterpillars on new growth of perennials and annuals.
- Use Bayer All-in-One Rose Flower Care to control mildew and phlox plant bug on garden phlox.
- Use Bobbex to deter rabbits from nibbling on young perennials and annuals.
- If not done early, spread mulch to keep weeds under control and moisture in.
- Spring blooming bulbs can be moved or divided as the foliage dies. Use Bulb-tone when replanting
- A spray application of Wilt Stop on plants immediately before transplanting can also help reduce transplant shock. After transplanting, water in using a root stimulator to help the plant establish itself.
- Watch for spider mite activity. Hose off affected foliage on a regular basis to reduce activity. It may be too hot to use chemical pesticides. Insecticidal Soaps can be effective.
- It is important to start watering, especially plants grown in full sun and the spring bloomers. Soaker hoses are a great way to distribute the water evenly without causing soil erosion.
- When planting new roses mix organic matter in to help break-down heavy clay soil. Add compost and a good fertilizer into your soil.
- Apply Bayer All-In-One Rose & Flower Care every six weeks for insect control, fungus control and fertilizer.
- If you are not using Bayers All-In-One, fertilize roses every two weeks with Miracle Gro Rose Food.
- To prevent the spread of black-spot, keep rose beds clear of dropped leaves and petals and dead-head spent blooms regularly.
- Roses are thirsty shrubs. They need 5 gallons of water per week to thrive.
Trees and Shrubs
- Use Sevin on trees, shrubs and flowers to kill Japanese Beetles, aphids, spider mites and other insects.
- If not done in March, apply Aluminum Sulfate to blue-blooming hydrangeas.
- It is important to start watering, especially plants grown in full sun and the spring bloomers. Soaker hoses are a great way to distribute the water evenly.
- Use Miracle Gro Azalea, Camellia Rhododendron Plant Food on Azaleas and Rhododendrons when they are finished blooming.
- Forsythia and other spring flowering trees and shrubs (Spirea, Mock Orange, Lilac, Magnolia, Rhododendron, Azalea, etc.) should be pruned immediately after flowering to promote new growth for next year’s flowering.
Tropical Plant Care
- Bring tropical plants outdoors as night temperatures stay above 50. Start them in a shady location and gradually move to brighter light to prevent sunburn. Feed them with a time release fertilizer or a good all purpose fertilizer.
- Apply a good acidic fertilizer to gardenias and citrus plants every 3 to 4 weeks.
- Zoysia lawns may be fertilized now.
- Apply a post-emergent broadleaf weed control to kill weeds and crabgrass in your lawn.
- If you laid a new lawn or seeded lawn, be sure to water, especially if the temperatures rise and we are not getting rain.
- Rain gauges are helpful in monitoring rainfall. Gardens need about 1 inch of water per week through September.
- Fill Hummingbird Feeders with nectar as the hummingbirds return to the area.
- Make sure bird baths are cleaned and filled with fresh water regularly.
- Protect bees by not spraying fruit trees when in bloom.
- The best time of day to use insecticides is in the evening when bees are less active.
- Add vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells from the kitchen along with spent vegetables from the garden.
- Turn the compost pile regularly and water periodically
to speed up decomposition.
Click here for other great gardening tips such as
Mulching | Growing Pansies | Organizing Seeds | Growing Tomatoes!