Thursday, August 10, 2017

Deadheading and other August Chores 

It’s not only what you plant but how you care for your plants that encourages blooming and fruiting through the season.  Keeping your garden looking its best means removing fading and spent flowers, as well as cleaning up leaves, branches and debris, especially if you got heavy rain and hail during the recent early August storms.
Weeds, like this wild lettuce can grow quickly this time of year, especially with the moisture we've had recently. Remove these and other weeds quickly before they go to seed. Speaking of going to seed, most annuals and perennials do their best when you remove fading blooms early, before they begin to form seed pods.
In gardening terms it’s called deadheading, which simply means pruning off the old flowers. This keeps the garden neat and promotes additional blooms as well. Get in the habit of deadheading while you walk through your garden.
It’s easy to carry a pair of light pruners with you as you make your rounds.
As you spot a blossom beginning to fade snip or pinch it off. Getting on a problem early is the best way to control it. 
With some plants, the heat, insect damage or disease has caused severe damage. Now's the time to prune them hard. 
Check your roses and remove spent blossoms. Do the same for your container plants, including hanging baskets. While you’re at it, take a hard look at your tomatoes and vegetables. Removing dead and diseased leaves on your tomato plants will put more energy into fruit production. Recognize common tomato problems such as
facing (low temperatures during bloom or fruit set),
cracking (watch the watering)
yellow shoulders (heat, low Potassium levels, high soil pH).
Heat, wind, uneven watering, poor soil, over fertilizing, insect damage can also cause tomato leaves to curl and twist. The best thing to do at this point is to maintain an even watering schedule and stop using high Nitrogen fertilizers. If you're not sure what's going on, bring us a sample. We'll figure it out and help you come up with a solution.
As for the rest of the vegetable garden, if you keep up with the harvest, many of your plants will produce more. This is also the time to start planning for a second crop of cool weather vegetables. Peas, radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach and many more cool weather crops can be planted soon, for winter harvest. Walk the garden every day. Time spent deadheading and pruning annuals and perennials will keep the garden colorful and fresh right to the end of the growing season. 

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