58 July 15, 2006
The hot and muggy weather of July has arrived. Muggy weather makes it hard to be motivated to go out and work in the garden. Early morning seems to be the best time to get outside. However, the early morning hours makes us bait for the large mosquito population.
July is the month that the hydrangeas begin to really, really come into flower. Many of you may have one of the blue flowering hydrangeas. Many times the blue color become less blue and may even start to turn pink. You can bring back the blue color by applying aluminum sulfate to the soil at the base of the plant. If you buy granular aluminum sulfate, you should dissolve 2 tablespoons in a gallon of water. Apply this solution around the base of the plant. You can do this every 2 weeks until you get the desired shade of blue.
Slugs continue to be a problem for may gardeners. Hosta and any of the other shade loving plants are favorite targets. Over the past few years, many gardeners have switched over to slug baits that contain iron sulfate. Unlike the previous slug baits, this one is not toxic to pets or wildlife. The bait is applied around the base of the plant. It should be replaced every 2 weeks or sooner if we have had periods of heavy rain.
The prolonged period of wet weather has caused many plants to die. A common problem has been the rotting away of the root system of plants. There are fungicides that you can apply as a soil drench to stop the destruction of plant roots. If you have soil that has poor drainage, then you should watch your plants for signs of root damage.
Rainy weather will also leach out the fertilizer that is in the soil. By now you should be fertilizing your container plants on a regular schedule. Hanging flowering baskets and container plants are having the triple whammy of periods of rapid growth, periods of heavy rain and periods of warm and windy weather where you must water several times a day. All these factors mean that you must replace that fertilizer. You also need to be fertilizing your flowerbeds and your vegetable gardens too. Lawns are starting to show signs of lack of fertilizer too. With all of the rain, you may not have needed or been able to fertilize your lawn. An application of an organic lawn fertilizer now will help to make up for the nutrients missing in the soil.
Some one asked if it was too late to lime lawns and gardens. Lime can be applied any time of the year. If you apply it in winter it won’t do much good. However, at any other time of the year, lime can be applied. There is always a big push in the spring to apply lime. There is no reason that you cannot apply lime now or in the fall. The best time to apply lime is when you have the time to apply it.
Computer genius that I am, I have finally been able to get my column back on line at our web site. If you miss the column on Saturday, you can access it by going to our web site, www.harborgardens.com. On the home page there is a link on the left hand side that says “ Weekly Column”. Click on this link and it will take you to the page. I try to get the newest column up on Saturday. This may also work out for you folks who have relatives who live outside of the area. They can go online and read the column.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.