The purpose of this post is to relay a few "quick hit" garden tips to you through the month of July. Some of these tips will be garden tasks I am doing myself (although I wish there were more of those. I am here at Skillin's so much, my own yard and garden falls quite behind!), some of these tips will be quick pieces of advice we are giving to customers, some will be quick links to good gardening advice we encounter on the internet.
Check back to this post often as we will update it often until we roll through July 2010!
July 20--We received the following email overnight from the State of Maine and it does contain some concerning news about Tomato Late Blight. From Ann Gibbs, the State Horticulturist: "We just got word this afternoon that late blight was found in Lincoln county. The disease was diagnosed by Bruce Watt at the UM Diagnostic lab on tomato plants from a home garden in Waldoboro. The plants were grown from seed and the home gardener did have late blight on both tomato and potato plants in 2009."
This almost asks more questions than it answers about the occurrence. It is hard to say whether the Waldoboro gardener was using soil or compost that may have had components of last year's plants in it. I would not be surprised if this was the case.
What should we do? Keep a close eye on our tomato plants for late blight. Keep our plants clean of yellow growth, trimmed of lots of excess green growth, water our plants well and slowly (not overhead). As a precaution it would not hurt to spray your plants with all natural Copper Fungicide or Serenade. Otherwise, at this point I think we will be just fine!
Click here for more info on Tomato Late Blight.
July 19--I was looking at some of my beautiful Echinacea Coneflowers yesterday and I noticed lots of small buds lower on the bud below some of my profuse flowers. I do like to leave gone by flower heads for the birds to munch on BUT if we get "with it" and prune those aging flowers that will spur some very good re bloom by the Coneflower. So decision made. Spent flowers to be pruned over the next couple of weeks and I will get more flowers to enjoy! THEN the second and third waves of flowers will be left to age for the birds to pick at the seed heads. Everyone--birds and I--will be happy!
July 14--Well what a nice rain we received last night. About .8" of rain landed in my rain gauge in the heart of Skillin's Country! All plant material will soak this up nicely! However conditions are dry enough that much of our material may need more quality water by the weekend! Especially shrubs and trees that are newly planted this year and containers and annuals that are in the hot hot sun. More rain is being talked about for the weekend--so stay tuned; but more watering by us could definitely be needed by the weekend!
July 13--Well we did receive some rain over the weekend. My rain gauge in the heart of Skillin's Country measured about .3"--not a lot of rain and not as much as some of us gardeners were hoping to get. More steady rain is forecast for Wednesday and that would be very good. Today is Tuesday and if you have TIME AND some container material or some larger 2010 plant material like shrubs and trees that have not had water for several days, it may be a good idea to give them a good quality watering today just in case tomorrow's rain does not add up to much. IF we do get a good rain tomorrow AND you do water today, do not fear most plants and soil are dry enough to handle quite a bit of water right now!
July 8--Jumpin' Joe Kubetz and Tim Bate our Nursery Manager talk raspberries in this great video posted at our Skillin's Twitter site. Check www.skillins.com/twitter often for quick Skillin's news and updates.
July 6--Real customer Martha was in the Falmouth store this evening. Her husband has been advised by his doctor to consume much less salt in his diet. So she was in to pick up some herb plants to use for food seasoning (instead of the salt). Martha was picking up rosemary, basil, oregano and lemon verbena. All great choices and I hope they work well for her and her husband!
July 2--Before coming to work I spent some much needed time on my 3 rose bushes. They have blossomed beautifully but now I have many spent stems of blossoms. I cut back the stems of the spent blossoms about halfway back down to a true set of leaves on the stem. I like to prune aggressively this time of year; the plant will respond quickly with some new growth and new flowers. Earlier this year I did put some Flower Tone around the base of each plant. I will probably wait another few weeks to do that again.
I also gave the plant a second spraying of a molasses based product called Vaccinate. In the past I have recommended spraying with Messenger to ward off disease and to increase the cell healthiness of plants prone to disease like roses, upright phlox and others. Well Messenger is not available anymore (worked great for me and many others!). But Vaccinate seems to be doing well as my roses and upright phlox are looking green, healthy and happy with no signs of mildew and leaf spot! We will see!