August 6, 2014
Here we are at the first week of August. Many of you may feel that summer is over but there is still time to plant something in your yard. Many of the summer and fall flowering perennials can be planted now. So many people ask in the fall “ Isn’t there anything other than mums that flower this time of the year? “ There are fall Asters, Sedums, many of the Coneflowers are still in bloom and the list goes on and on. You don’t need to wait for Mums to fill in those blank spots in your gardens. Plant some late summer / fall flowering perennials now.
Many of you will have spaces in your vegetable garden where you pulled out the spring plantings of lettuce, peas, radishes and beans. Don’t let that empty space go to waste. You can re-plant peas, radishes, beets, leaf lettuce and even beans. Many of the leafy greens that you plant now can give you a harvest as late as November. If you have space in your garden, plant a late summer crop now.
Over the last few weeks, we have begun to see the signs of fungus diseases on tomato plants. The disease may appear as yellow leaves with black spots on the leaves or it may be watery looking patches. Whatever the disease, the important thing is to get the disease under control. If you wait to treat your tomato plants, you will soon find that the vast majority of the leaves are infected. Infected leaves cannot make food or are restricted in the amount of food that they can make for your plants. It is the food that the leaves make that help your tomatoes to ripen. Go to your garden today and check your tomato and other vegetable plants for signs of diseases. If you find any sign of diseases, treat your plants immediately to get those diseases under control.
When you get to this time of the season, your tomato plants are still producing flowers. The problem can be that those new flowers probably won’t have time to turn into ripe tomatoes. At this point in the season, you should pinch off those new flowers. This will allow your tomato plants time to get all the other tomatoes to ripen. You can help your tomato plants to achieve ripe tomatoes by keeping up with your applications of fertilizer. You do not want to stop fertilizing your tomato plants until the frost wipes out the plants.
Many of you will still be battling the Japanese beetles in your yard. Remember that those beetles will be laying eggs in your lawn. Those eggs will hatch out as grubs that will eat the roots of your grass. If you want to use an organic control on your lawn, there is a product called Milky Spore that you can apply to your lawn. The spore get into the soil and as the beetle eggs hatch, the young grubs ingest the spores and the grubs quickly stop eating. The spore is a bacterium that grows in the grub and eventually kills the grub. When the grub dies, the body winds up releasing more spores into the soil. The good news is, once you have the Milky Spore in your soil, it can control grubs for up to 10 years or more!
There are other methods of grub control that you can put onto your lawn. I’ll write about those in a column in early September.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.