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Inquirer - Michael Martin Mills



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Published: Fri, 29 Jul 2011 14:00:11 GMT

 



Time to ...
Enjoy the lower-key nature of high-summer garden maintenance. It's too hot (and, most likely, dry, despite a recent downpour) to be planting or transplanting. Pruning of woodies (woody ornamentals) should be on hiatus till late fall. The grass has ceased its rampant growth. So, weed, water as needed, harvest consistently, and deadhead to keep the annuals blooming. Then head for the hammock.



Time to ...
Take advantage of the experts and get some choice plants from plant society sales. These events are the best source for superb varieties rarely found in commerce. Plus, society members have tips and knowledge of local growing conditions that no catalog will ever match. Here are four for your calendar, including one Saturday:



Time to ...
Consider this weekend as a deadline and turning point in the garden. Several tasks should be completed as soon as possible, because putting them off will have disappointing results.



Time to ...
Stake or cage anything prone to flopping when taller, even if the plants are little now. Old shoelaces are excellent ties - soft and thicker than twine, usually made of a non-decaying synthetic fiber. Or repurpose the giant twist-ties that come with lettuce and other produce. With both, be a little loose with your bindings - plant stalks should be able to sway a little in the breeze.



Time to ...
Get the last of the nursery stock acquired in April and May into the ground - now. Wait until direct sun has left the site and be generous with water for the rest of summer.



Time to ...
Complete your acquisitions for flower and vegetable beds and get newly purchased plants into the ground promptly - the solstice is barely four weeks away, when nights start getting longer, shortening veggie growing time. Wait until direct sun has passed the planting area. If hot sun is forecast for the following days, shade small plants for a couple of days (newspaper tent, upside-down clay pot, bushel basket). Water well.



Time to ...
It's Time to. . . Plant, plant, hallelujah, plant! Do so on a cloudy day or in late afternoon when shade has returned to the site. Water well and if a heat wave arrives, consider rigging some shade (umbrella, crude tent of old sheets) for midday.



Time to ...
Begin planting shrubs, trees, and roses. Take into account their mature sizes and sun patterns once existing trees have leafed out. Roses need a minimum of six hours full sun daily.



Time to ...
Apply preemergent herbicides to lawns. Complete this task by mid-April or it's too late for crabgrass. Corn gluten is considered acceptable for organic gardeners. Special formulations (nonorganic) also exist for use in flower and shrub beds with established plantings, but read the labels attentively.



Time to ...
Assemble materials for sowing seeds indoors, washing reused items well (hot water, a cup of bleach per gallon-and-a-half of rinse water). Check packets for timing, and count back from Mother's Day - six weeks is common, meaning sow around April Fool's Day