44 June 28, 2008
The weather has co-operated and our gardens are growing quickly. I would guess that this is our reward for waiting out a long winter.
Insects are beginning to show up in the garden and some are causing major damage in a short period of time. One of these insects is called the tortoise beetle. This beetle is shaped like a shield and tends to be almost transparent in color. Sometimes, the color of the beetle is gold in color. Either way, this beetle has done a lot of damage. You can spray or dust your plants with Sevin or you can use Neem oil as an organic approach to controlling this beetle or any beetle.
Caterpillars of all types and descriptions are also attacking plants. Sevin works well at controlling caterpillars. You can use a product called Bt as an organic control of caterpillars.
Many customers have brought leaf samples into the store. The leaf samples have holes in the leaves, but the customer never see any insects on the leaves. A close look at the leaves shows a shiny substance on the leaf. This is a dried slime trail caused by slugs moving across the leaves. The reason most people don’t see the slug feeding is because slugs only feed at night. If you apply slug bait at the base of the plants that have slug damage, you will quickly eliminate most of the slugs. The moist weather that we have had lately favors an increase in the slug population. If you see signs of slug damage, you should move quickly to knock back the slugs before they do major damage to your plants.
This time of the year is a time to be deadheading many plants. If you do not know the term, deadheading means removing the old flower heads from your plants. Rhododendrons and lilacs are just two of the shrubs that will greatly benefit from removing the old flowers. When you are removing the old flowers from your rhododendrons, you need to be careful and not damage the new growth that is emerging on the plant. Most rose bushes will re-flower sooner if you remove the old flowers. Some of your annual flowers will flower better if you remove the old flowers. Deadheading is one of those tedious jobs that need to be done in your garden. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Deadheading a rhododendron can be done a bit at a time over several days. This could be an early morning job while you enjoy that first or ninth cup of coffee. It can also be done after work while enjoying your favorite evening beverage.
As I said earlier, most gardens are growing quickly. To keep this growth going, you will need to fertilize your plants on a regular schedule. Container grown plants will need to be fertilized often if you want them to grow properly. The plants will take the nutrients from the soil in the container. As the plants grow, there will be an increased demand for nutrients. This will require you to replace those nutrients by adding fertilizer to the soil. As the season progresses, the plants will remove the nutrients you have added at an accelerated rate. You must keep up with fertilizing your container grown plants. Your gardens will need to be fertilized on a regular basis too. Either way, fertilizing is an important step in having a successful garden.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.