Master Gardener: Taking care of the garden right now
We have moved into the heart of growing season, so there is a lot happening quite visibly in our gardens. That means plenty of gardening tasks to be accomplished, no matter what sorts of plants we tend.
• Prune suckers off crabapples and other fruit trees, lilacs, and tulip magnolias.
• Leave foliage from spring bulbs in place with one exception. If you have clumps of tulips that are leggy or didn’t bloom well this spring, dig them up and toss them on the compost pile. Ideally, use a wooden or metal marker to note the spot where you’ll plant fresh bulbs this fall.
• Feed roses once a month through the summer.
•Pinch off chrysanthemums through the Fourth of July.
• Keep spring-planted trees and shrubs watered well.
• Weed diligently while the weeds are small.
• Mow lawns to about two inches – neither scalped nor straggly.
• Plant sweet corn a second time about two weeks after your first planting.
• Remove flowers from any strawberries planted this year so that the plants put their full energy into root development.
• Consider a strategy for extending the lettuce harvest. Try a shade cloth or lattice “cover” to cool the air and delay bolting.
• Try to complete any necessary watering early in the day so that plant foliage is dry by nightfall.
• Mulch to control weeds, conserve moisture, and limit diseases.
• Be a smart shopper. Some catalog bulb companies will be offering discounts for orders placed now; they’ll ship bulbs at the correct time for planting. If you’re shopping at plant clearance sales, examine plants very closely for signs of disease, pests, or stress.
• Tend the gardener. Apply sunscreen and don gloves before working. Afterward, stretch and scrub.
• Enjoy. Admire the form of mature trees, and take a break in their shade. Marvel at the varied textures, forms, and colors in the perennial border. Savor fresh-from-the-garden veggies.