27July 04, 2018

With the arrival of the 4th of July, the plants are really growing. We have a few vegetable plants in large containers. The cucumber plant has tripled in size during the heat wave. Nothing like 90-degree weather to get the plants growing.

During the summer months, you should be cutting your grass differently than you do in the spring. In the spring, the grass is growing so fast that you want to cut the grass to a shorter length. During the summer months, you want the blades of grass to be longer after you cut the grass. It would be beneficial to have the mower set to allow the cut grass to be about 3 inches in length. The longer blades of grass will actually shade the soil, which in turn cuts down on the moisture loss from the sun drying out the soil. The longer blades of grass will also help to keep weeds in check.

Your lawn may need an application of fertilizer to help it to continue to grow during the summer months. An organic lawn fertilizer is the preferred way to go because the fertilizer will slowly release over a period of up to 8 weeks. If you do have a watering ban, then Mother Nature may have to provide the water to keep the grass growing. Otherwise, your lawn will need about an inch of water per week during the summer months. It is best to water between 6AM and 8 AM. This will allow the grass to absorb the water before the heat of the day. If you water between midnight and 5 AM, the blades of grass will remain wet during the night and you greatly increase the odd of your lawn developing a fungus disease. If you water during the later morning to afternoon hours, you will lose a lot of water to evaporation before the water even hits the ground.

The warm weather has caused a huge increase in the insect population. Rose bushes have been hit by a tiny caterpillar that has caused a lot of damage to the leaves of the rose bushes. If you see a small white butterfly fluttering around your vegetable garden, be on the lookout for a green caterpillar feeding on your broccoli and other related plants. The giant moth that lays eggs on your tomato plants will have blessed you with small green caterpillars that hatch from those eggs. The tiny caterpillars will turn into the tomato hornworm that will devour many of the leaves on your tomato plants.

The point of all of this warning is to get you to check your plants at least once a week for signs of insect damage. It is much easier to control an insect problem if you catch the problem at an early stage. If you wait until the problem is in a later stage, you run the risk of losing your plants.

Along with insects being a problem, fungus diseases thrive in the summer months. Wet leaves during the nighttime hours are an invitation for fungus diseases to grow quickly. You should not be watering your plants in the evening hours and if you have to do so, never water the leaves of the plant. It doesn’t cool the plant; the plant doesn’t absorb the water through the leaves. Wet leaves just create a perfect environment for the growth of fungus diseases. If you have to water in the evening to save the plants, water only the soil around the plant. It is always best to water your plants in the morning. The plants will absorb more water in the morning, which in turn allows the plant to survive the heat of the day. Just be sure to water enough to thoroughly wet the soil. This is critically important if you are growing plants in containers. If the soil in the container is not moist from top to bottom, your plants are going to suffer from lack of water.

Well, that’s all for this week. The store will be open on the 4th of July from 9 AM to 3 PM. As always, we are open 7 days a week during the spring and summer season.

I’ll talk to you next week.

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