To do this week
* Remove the scapes (flower stalks) from hard-necked (also called stiff-necked) types of garlic. Save the scapes and use them in stir-fry, a base for pesto, or toss them in a large soup pot with some bay leaves, pepper corns, and salt for a rich broth.
* Make another planting of bush beans. Most varieties of bush beans have a harvest period of only a few weeks at most. So, for continuous yield, plant a succession of bush beans about every two weeks through mid-July.
* Water the soil around vegetables plants rather than applying water over the top of plants. This will help reduce the incidence of leaf diseases on vegetable crops. If using sprinklers to water the garden, turn them on early in the day rather than in the evening.
* Water hanging baskets frequently through the summer months. Because the baskets are so exposed, their soils tend to dry much faster than garden soils. On a sunny, hot, and windy day, it may even be necessary to water the baskets several times. Such frequent watering results in a leaching of nutrients from the soil. As such, apply a water-soluble fertilizer regularly, or scatter a slow-release fertilizer over the soil surface.
* Check for Asiatic Garden Beetle feeding on flowers and shrubs. They are now stripping the foliage on some viburnums and certain perennials such as Joe-Pye Weed. This beetle resembles a Japanese Beetle but is chestnut brown in color. Since it feeds at night, go out with a flashlight and hand pick the beetles from plant foliage.
Mother Nature checked the calendar and saw that summer begins this week. She was a bit impatient by dropping steamy weather on us a few days ahead of the official start to summer, but she made no bones about it being time for the hazy, hot, and humid stuff.
I’m sure that I was not the only one who wilted in the heat while working in the garden this week. That’s not surprising because our bodies are not yet acclimated to these conditions. As such, it is important to take some precautions when working outdoors now and for the rest of the summer in order to avoid heat-related illnesses.
To start with, drink plenty of water when gardening in the heat. Also, take frequent breaks or stop gardening during the hottest time of the day. If gardening in the sun, wear a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, and apply sunscreen.
Because we get so involved in our work, it’s easy for heat stress to overtake us before we are aware of it. So, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat stress and the more serious condition of heat stroke. Get information on heat related illnesses at your doctor’s office or from this web site: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2019/0415/p482.html