30July 2, 2014

It’s hard to believe that we are in the month of July. Now the gardens really begin to get growing!

Give or take around the 4 Th of July, the Japanese beetles make their appearance in our yards. If you are not familiar with this beetle, it is green in color and it is the adult stage of the grubs that can infest your lawn. The beetle will feed on many plants but any plant that has a sweet fragrance will definitely attract this beetle. The beetles hatch out over an extended period of time. The males and females will eat your plants and will eventually mate and the females lay eggs in your lawn. There are many sprays that will kill the beetles but Neem is particularly effective at killing the beetles. There is some research that shows that the Neem has a smell that the beetles don’t like and therefore it is also acts as a repellent. You should also set up Japanese beetle traps in your yard. These traps will catch both male and female beetles. The more beetles that you catch the fewer there are to mate and lay eggs in your yard. Keep an eye out for these beetles in your yard and begin to treat your plants as soon as they make their appearance in your yard.

With the arrival of warm weather, you should be paying attention to the water requirements of your plants. For example, if you have flower buds forming on your tomatoes and you let the soil go very dry, the tomatoes that form will have a black patch on the bottom. This is called blossom end rot. Once the patch has formed, there is no cure for the condition. The way to prevent this is to water your tomato plants before the soil dries out. This is especially true for any of the tomato plants that you grow in containers. All of your plants take up water better if you water them first thing in the morning. It is always best to water your plants at the base of the plant and not on the leaves. This is critically important if you have to water your plants in the evening. If your plants have wet leaves going into the night, they are highly likely to develop fungus diseases on the leaves.

Along with watering your plants, you also need to feed your plants. As your plants grow, they need more fertilizer to support all of the growth that is on your plants. In your vegetable garden, plants won’t set as may flowers if you don’t keep up with a regular fertilization program. No flowers mean no vegetables. By following a regular fertilizing program all season long, you will have a bountiful vegetable garden. Every late summer, I get people who come into the store asking why their tomatoes are not ripening. When I ask them when the last time they fertilized the plants, they usually say ” I water the plants.” Lack of fertilizer is the main reason tomatoes don’t ripen. If you go to all the time to plant your garden, keep up with the fertilizer to make your garden an economical success.

Your annual flowers in your hanging baskets, window boxes and flowerpots will also benefit from a regular application of fertilizer. If your annual flowers are not flowering their little hearts out, then they are not getting enough fertilizer. Regular fertilizing of annual flowers will mean that you will have flowers all summer long.

Well that’s all for this week. I hope you have a happy and safe 4th of July. We will be open on the 4th so if you need some plants or if you forgot to fill your propane tank for the cookout, we will be there for you.

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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