August 19, 2009
The heat and humidity have really set in this week. Maybe this hot weather will help to ripen up all of those green tomatoes on your tomato plants.
Mid August is the time to do a few chores that can be rewarding and some chores that will make life easier and also save you money in the long run.
By mid August, there are usually a few empty spots in the vegetable garden. It may be where the beets and radishes were planted and harvested. It may also be where the peas were planted. Now would be a good time to replace some of those harvested crops with new crops. I have had good luck planting peas at this time of the season. The peas will grow and mature in the cool weather of September and October. Beets can also be planted now. The same hold true for many of the lettuce varieties. There is no sense in letting that space lie dormant when you can plant some vegetables that will mature in the fall.
The Japanese Beetles have created quite a bit of havoc in many yards. The adult females are laying eggs in your lawn. Those eggs will hatch out as white grubs that can eat many of the roots of your lawn. If you apply a season long grub control now, you will kill off many of those grubs before they have a chance to damage the roots. If you prefer a more organic approach, Milky Spore is a host specific bacterium that kills the grubs of Japanese Beetles and Rose Chafers. Once applied, this bacterium will continue to control grubs for up to 20 years.
One of my favorite perennials is coming into bloom. If you don’t have a hardy hibiscus or two in your yard, you are missing out on one of the most spectacular of the late summer blooming perennials. Each flower may last only a day, but when the buds unfurl and show a flower that can be as much as 6 inches in diameter, you know you will want to have this perennial. Mature plants will produce 100’s of flowers over the course of the summer and fall. Depending on the variety, flower colors can be red, light pink, dark pink and shades of lavender. Hardy hibiscus is slow to come out of dormancy in spring. It is not unusual for them to show no signs of growth until Memorial Day. However, once they do start to grow, they grow amazingly fast. If you have some open space in your perennial bed, plant a hardy hibiscus.
After a rainy June, we may have thought that we would never have to water our outside plants. The combination of heat and lack of rain means that you should be watering your trees and shrubs each week. The lawns will need to be watered too. Depending on the variety, some of your perennials will need watering as well. You need to remember that many of your plants will soon be taking up water to store in the branches. This stored water is what helps many plants to survive the constant drying winter winds. If Mother Nature doesn’t supply the water you will have to do it.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.