39June 1, 2011

It’s hard to believe that it is June 1 st. We have had another year of going from winter to summer weather. This type of stuff only happens in New England.

Now that the warm weather has arrived, the soil has begun to really warm up. Certain plants need these warm soil temperatures if they are to be happy in the garden. If you planted basil early this season, you soon learned that it is one of those plants that need a warm soil temperature to survive. Some of the other plants that need a warm soil temperature are eggplant, cucumbers, zinnias and annual flowering vinca. If you planted these plants early and they are not looking their best, give them some fertilizer and see if they respond by putting out lots of new growth. If you don’t see any good results in a week, replace the plants.

Many of you have set out your plants in your gardens during the last week. One of the most important things you need to do is to keep up with fertilizing your plants. Many of the plants that you now find are hybrid plants. These plants need a steady supply of fertilizer if they are to grow properly. It does not matter if you use a chemical or organic fertilizer. What is important is that you follow the fertilizing schedule that is printed on the label that is on the fertilizer package. You will get the best flowers or you will get more vegetables if you fertilize your plants on a regular schedule.

Over the weekend, we heard from a number of people that mosquitoes had made their arrival. Last summers dry weather means that there were a lot of mosquito eggs that had been laid that did not hatch. This springs wet weather has made it an ideal time for all those eggs to hatch. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of organic options in controlling mosquitoes in your yard. There are sprays to repel the adults and biological controls to kill the mosquito larvae. If the mosquitoes have taken over your yard, you may want to take a look at these control methods before you spray your yard with chemicals.

When you first set out your vegetable plants, a tiny insect called flea beetles will likely attack your plants. These insects eat holes in the leaves. They can eat so much of the leaves that their damage can weaken the plant and ultimately cause the plant to die. Favorite plants include eggplant, cucumbers and tomatoes. If you see tiny holes beginning to appear on the leaves of your vegetable plants, take quick action and apply an appropriate insecticide.

This appears to be the season of the caterpillar. It almost seems that every type of plant has some type of caterpillar gnawing on the leaves of the plant. There is a very effective biological spray called Bt. It is a bacterium that kills only caterpillars. You mix the liquid with water and spray it on your plants leaves. Once the caterpillar eats some of the treated leaf, it will stop eating and will soon die. Take some time this week to check your plants for signs of damage caused by caterpillars. If you see the caterpillars on the leaves, get busy applying BT and you will quickly eliminate this insect problem from your gardens.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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