Hello Again From My Little Corner Of The Garden
I love July! Summer has arrived and I can see most of my plant babies growing into my winter expectations. Below are just a few tips/hints for the month of July.
Hanging Baskets/Container Planters:
TIP 1: Mid July is a great time for haircuts. I know it's very hard to cut back those blooms you’ve been anticipating and enjoying! If your basket branches are beginning to look a little stringy it's certainly a good rule of thumb to cut them back by a third to promote the energy and resources focused on creating new blooms. It’s heartbreaking for sure, but in a week's time the energy that was focused on keeping those beloved blooms going will return to the roots and shoot new growth that will see you right through the rest of the summer.
HINT: When pinching petunias please ensure to remove the entire flower head including the seedpod left behind. Many people think if they just remove the spent flower that is considered deadheading. But if you only remove the dying flower, the pod left will go to seed and too many seeds set within a plant will put it into dormancy for the season. (I also always remove the stem to the nearest main branch to prevent the flower stem from turning brown over time. It presents a far healthier looking plant and is pleasing to the eye)
THE MORE DEADHEADING THE MORE FLOWERS!
TIP 2: This is a great time to top off the slow release fertilizer beads around the base of the baskets/planters. This ensures each time you water, nutrients are being given to the basket.
TIP 3 (This is a good one): If you find water to be running right through your basket immediately upon watering I’m afraid you will need to replant the basket to 1 size larger. It's either root bound or the soil has become so compact and there is no soil left to absorb the water. Sorry to say but this usually happens with inconsistent watering habits. Try to water in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler and keep it to the same schedule daily.
A Couple of Veggie Garden Tips:
LETTUCE TIPS: If you planted your lettuce early you will find it may start to bolt with the hot weather. Lettuce loves cooler temperatures so when the hot weather arrives it will often bolt (meaning the center shoots up going to seed and the lettuce will taste bitter) therefore this particular head will be finished for the season and can be pulled for composting. This would be a great time if you are interested in continuing to eat lettuce into the Fall to sprinkle some seed down in a cooler shadier spot (under tomatoes perhaps) and begin to grow a new crop. Lettuce is so easy to grow and if you are new to gardening the perfect vegetable to harvest with success.
TOMATO TIPS: If your tomato is INDETERMINATE it will continue to grow upwards and require staking while producing fruit continuously throughout the summer. Please remember to prune or sucker and keep the bottom 12” trimmed up leaving better air circulation to the plant. The goal is to remove any leaves touching the soil to reduce the risk of diseases spreading and fruit rotting.
DETERMINATE tomatoes (Bush) are an easier tomato to grow with less attention needed. Their growth pattern is shorter and outwards making it a great tomato to grow in planters as well. Keep in mind these tomatoes basically arrive at the same time and will likely need some type of staking simply because of the weight of the vines. I still prefer to keep branches from touching any soil to help keep the plant and fruit healthy.
If you have the space, a combination of the two types of tomatoes is optimal. My favorite Indeterminate tomatoes are Better Boy, Super Fantastic, San Marzano (for our Italian heritage) & for a crazy growing sweet cherry tomato Sun Gold. The determinate I am experimenting this year with a Bush Early Girl. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
My gardens are full and very happy from all the rain and humidity these past few weeks. I am eagerly awaiting the raspberries' arrival. They are producing the fruit at this very moment and looks like another bumper crop! My neighbors' little ones will be extra excited, as they love my gold raspberries!
Speaking of bumper crops, has anyone else noticed very few pollinators in their yard? I purposely planted more companion flowers to entice them to our yard and I have never had fewer bees or butterflies. This is very discouraging for all of us if this is the case.
Last tip of the month is take the time to journal all your successes and disappointments so far in the season. This will be a great resource for next year when it comes to designing in the middle of winter.
Deep thought for the month quoted from Magnolia Magazine:
The conditions for healthy growth
Start with cultivating lasting roots.