To do this week:
* Keep your shirt on…..and tucked into your pants. That’s neither a reprimand nor a fashion statement. It is one of the things you can do to protect yourself from deer ticks and the Lyme disease that those ticks carry. Take all precautions; deer tick populations are rather high this year.
* Create a mini-garden with a tropical flair. Plant a combination of brightly colored flowers such as dahlias and gladioluses along with some bold foliage plants such as cannas and elephant ears. Also include some annuals vines, e.g., passion flower, scarlet runner bean, and cup and saucer vine.
* Continue planting vegetable crops. If space is limited, try growing some vegetables in containers. The best crops for container culture are those that produce continually throughout the summer, i.e. tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, dwarf cucumbers, and herbs.
* Get in the habit of routinely checking vegetable crops, flowers and woody ornamentals for pest and disease problems. Early detection is a key to successful pest and disease management. Aphids, flea beetles, cutworms, tortoise shell beetle, potato beetle, and four-lined plantbug are some critters you can expect to find on vegetable crops now.
* Start clipping and saving recipes that include the fruits and vegetables growing in your gardens. I have about 3 or 4 favorite recipes for each crop in our gardens. This saves me the trouble of having to think much about how to prepare vegetables that we are harvesting at a given time; and everybody knows that thinking is not one of my attributes.
I haven’t seen any data to support this conclusion, but it seems to me that hanging baskets have increased in popularity in recent years. If so, I attribute this rise in interest to the introduction of new plants especially suited to growing in hanging baskets.
One such plant is Calibrachoa, currently my favorite plant for hanging baskets. Calibrachoa hybrids, such as Million Bells and Superbells, resemble miniature petunias. Its cascading growth habit and season-long blooming make Calibrachoa an ideal plant for hanging baskets. There are numerous varieties, coming in a wide range of vividly colored flowers. The plants flower best if the hanging baskets are placed in a sunny location. Regular watering and applications of water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks will ensure healthy growth and flowering of Calibrachoa right up to frost. Another feature of Calibrachoa that I like is that it cleans up after itself. Unlike old fashioned petunias, Calibrachoa sheds its spent flowers.