TIPS FOR:

 

MONTHLY GARDENING TIPS

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

QCGC

Private shade garden, Garden Tour, July, 2018

QCGC

Field Trip to Blithewold Mansion Gardens, August 2018

QCGC

Private garden tour, Garden Tour, July 2018


GARDENING TIPS BULLETIN:  JUNE 2019 (From UCONN)

ANNUALS AND PERENNIALS

• Scout for lace bugs and aphids. Spray with water or use a low-toxicity insecticide to control them.
• Check container plants daily during hot weather, they will need water often.
• Cut back early-flowering perennials to tidy up and encourage more blooms.
• All plants, especially newly planted ones, need 1” of water per week. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed.
• Keep on top of weeds during the early summer when they are small and easy to pull. If you keep your garden plants well-watered and fertilized, they will quickly fill in bare spaces and give weeds fewer places to grow.
• To move spring-blooming bulbs to another spot, wait until the foliage has turned yellow, carefully dig them up and let them dry in a shady spot for a few days. Store the bulbs in a cool, dry place until it's time to plant them in fall.
• Clematis usually blooms only in spring but once it's finished blooming you can prune it to 12” and it may produce a second flush of growth and flowers. Or just lightly prune just to shape and to remove damaged and wayward stems. Leave the decorative seed heads.
• Sow seeds of fast-growing annuals like marigolds, zinnias, and cosmos directly in the garden.
• Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as cannas, gladiolas and dahlias.
• Plant caladium and tuberous begonias in shady spots.
• Lightly cultivate soil after a heavy rain to avoid compaction. A layer of mulch reduces the soil crusting and compaction caused by raindrops.

HOUSEPLANTS

• You can move houseplants outside to the deck or patio and enjoy them outdoors for the summer. It is best to gradually introduce them to more direct sunlight to prevent the leaves from being burned.
• Be aware that container plants will need more water during hot and windy weather.

IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

• Tomato plants can be leggy, if planted deeper they will root along the buried stems.
• Stake or cage tomatoes and spray them if necessary to prevent disease problems.
• Check for small holes that signal flea beetle damage on tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.
• There is still time to sow seeds of beans, beets, carrots, cucumbers, and summer squash.
• Plant seeds of bush beans every three weeks for a continuous harvest.
• For the sweetest pea harvest, pick regularly before pods become over-mature and peas become starchy.
• If you must overhead water do so early enough in the day to allow the foliage to dry before nightfall to minimize diseases.
• Plant vegetables or flowers in unadorned pots or decorative jardinieres and grow them on decks or patios if space is limited.
• Harvest early season vegetables including lettuce, radishes and peas when they are at their peak.
• Heavy rains encourage slug problems. Check for slugs during rainy periods and hand pick the pests.

INSECTS

• Heavy rains encourage slug problems. Check for slugs during rainy periods and hand pick the pests.
• Scout for lace bugs and aphids. Spray with water or use a low-toxicity insecticide to control them.
• Check for small holes that signal flea beetle damage on tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.
• Check apple, cherry, and other fruit trees for nests of Eastern tent caterpillars. Blast low-lying nests with water to destroy them, or knock them to the ground and destroy them. A spray of Bacillus thuringiensis on the foliage will kill emerging caterpillars after they consume it but is not toxic to beneficial insects, birds, or humans.
• Apply grub control after June 15th.
• Scout for black vine weevil adults feeding on azalea and rhododendron foliage and use a foliar insecticide.
• June bugs can be annoying as they bounce on your window screens attracted by your house lights. The larvae do eat plant roots and the adult beetles forage on trees and shrubs although they do not seem to cause the excessive damage associated with Oriental beetles or Japanese beetles.
• Mosquitoes breed in standing water. To discourage them, change the water in bird baths and outdoor pet dishes every few days. Landscape and Lawns

FRUITS

• Check apple, cherry, and other fruit trees for nests of Eastern tent caterpillars. Blast low-lying nests with water to destroy them, or knock them to the ground and destroy them. A spray of Bacillus thuringiensis on the foliage will kill emerging caterpillars after they consume it but is not toxic to beneficial insects, birds, or humans.
• It's a great time to plant strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
• Harvest early season fruits such as strawberries when they are at their peak. Lawns • Keep mower blades sharp and set your mower height at 2-3 inches.
• Mow lawns often enough to remove no more than one-third the total height per mowing. There is no need to remove clippings unless excessive or diseased.
• Grass can quickly invade gardens and landscape plantings and is best deterred with a good quality edging that is properly installed.
• Leave grass clippings on the lawn to improve availability of nitrogen.
• Apply grub control after June 15th.

LANDSCAPE & LAWNS

TREES AND SHRUBS

• Scout for black vine weevil adults feeding on azalea and rhododendron foliage and use a foliar insecticide.
• Overgrown, multi-stemmed shrubs like spirea, lilac, and forsythia, can be renovated by removing 1/3 of stems down to ground level each year for 3 years, allowing some new young growth to replace these older stems.
• When deadheading rhododendrons, avoid breaking off the leaf buds which are just below flowers.
• Gator bags provide a great way to keep trees watered during hot and dry months. These bags, which can hold up to 20 gallons of water, are secured to the trunk of the tree, where they release the water slowly to the root ball over the course of 15 to 20 hours.
• June bugs can be annoying as they bounce on your window screens attracted by your house lights. The larvae do eat plant roots and the adult beetles forage on trees and shrubs although they do not seem to cause the excessive damage associated with Oriental beetles or Japanese beetles.
• Watch for and control blackspot and powdery mildew on rose foliage.
• This is a good time to take cuttings of trees and shrubs, such as chokeberry, butterfly bush, spirea, serviceberry, hydrangea, dogwood, and magnolia, to root for new plantings.

WILDLIFE

• Continue to use deer and woodchuck controls where necessary.

YARD TOOLS

• Mosquitoes breed in standing water. To discourage them, change the water in bird baths and outdoor pet dishes every few days.
• Add to, aerate and moisten compost pile to speed decomposition. Despite good cultural practices, pests and diseases at times may appear. Chemical control should be used only after all other methods have failed.

 

3 Elements for Making Perfect Compost

1. Start with a container
Compost bins are of two types, stationary and rotating. Both types must have their contents turned periodically to provide oxygen and combine the decaying materials. 

Stationary bins can be as simple as well-ventilated cage made from wire fence sections or wooden crates assembled from a kit. A well-designed bin will retain heat and moisture, allowing for quicker results. Locate the pile in a sunny location so that it has as much heat as possible. If it’s in the shade all day, decomposition will still happen, but it will be much slower, especially when freezing temps arrive in the fall. Compost tumblers can also take heat advantage of being placed in direct sunlight.  Skip meat, fish and dairy for outdoor bins because they tend to attract pests like mice, raccoons and dogs. Begin by placing chunky material like small branches or woody stems on the bottom for good airflow. Every time you add green material, add some brown as well to keep a good moisture balance and create air pockets.
Compost tumblers are easy-to-turn bins that speed up the process — compost in weeks, not months or years — by frequent oxygen infusions and heat retention. Select one based on how much plant matter (grass, leaves, weeds, stalks and stems from last year’s garden) you have at your disposal, how large your yard is, and how quickly you need to use the finished product.
2. Get the ingredient mix right
A low-maintenance pile has a combination of brown and green plant matter, plus some moisture to keep the good bacteria humming. Shredded newspaper, wood chips and dry leaves are ideal for the brown elements; kitchen waste and grass clippings are perfect for the green add-ins.  It’s a good idea to give your new pile a jump-start to get the process started. There are several great activators that are ready to go right out of the box. No need to mix it in well. Fold in a couple shovelfuls of garden soil rich in organic matter and let the natural process begin.
3. Remember a few simple chores. 
Taking care of a compost pile is extremely basic, but a wee bit of care makes a huge difference. Add material regularly to give the happy bacteria some fresh food to consume and enough insulation to keep the process warm.
Turn the pile with a pitchfork or compost aerator every week or two to make sure that all of the materials are blended in and working together. After you’ve mixed things up, grab a handful to see if it’s slightly damp. Too little moisture will slow the decomposition process and too much will leave you with a slimy mess.  In a few months, your finished product should be a dark, crumbly soil that smells like fresh earth.

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