Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August (early August) Garden Talks

Hello again,

I have been away from the keyboard for a few days but I am back where I should be able to bring a few early August Garden Talks and Tips over the next few days. So check back to this post often as we will be bringing different Quick Gardening Points to you!

*Now is a fine time to reapply some nice natural Garden Tone for your vegetable garden for that final push! Also Flower Tone for your perennial beds for the same reason. These natural fertilizers are great for the soil and will really help your plants--especially if all the fertilizer they have seen is Miracle Gro. Miracle Gro does get nutrients to the plants quickly but the nutrients also leach out quickly. Give your vegetable and flowering plants a good organic meal. (Plant Tone by Espoma or Pro Gro by North Country Organics can also be used for this purpose!) (8/03/2011)

*Now and through fall is a great time to overseed your lawn to help rejuvenate it. Your soil is nice and warm and the seed will just "pop" out of the ground. We have well priced but great quality seed and all the supplies you need to do the job right! (8/03/2011)
*Margaret of Away to Garden posted many great "August garden chores" for the upcoming month. They all apply well to Skillin's Country. Here are a couple of excellent pointers for the vegetable garden that should be acted on very soon:

"Sow another crop of peas right now for fall harvest (and perhaps freezing for offseason use)....another sowing of chard, radishes, carrots, arugula, kale, spinach, turnips, beets and lettuce means succulent fall crops. With salad greens, sow small amounts now and again in 10 days. Direct-sow one more row of bush beans if you don’t have later-producing pole beans to rely on for harvest now through fall, but do it fast." (8/02/2011)

*I have just fielded two customer questions about Tomato Blossom End Rot. Click HERE for a post from August 2010 that handles that dilemma quite well. Tomato Blossom End Rot is a common problem right now for gardeners in Skillin's Country--particularly those of us who grow tomatoes in containers. (8/01/2011)

Tomato Blossom End Rot (this can be treated!)

*Speaking of tomato issues, we should soon be hearing about and also seeing the semi terrifying Tomato Hornworm, quite often the biggest caterpillar you ever will see. Tomato Hornworms are voracious and they chomp lots of tomato leaves. In fact the Tomato Hornworm can eat up to 2 to 3 times its weight in fresh succulent tomato plants. This kind of eating really hampers the plant and the eventual tomato production.

Tomato Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm is best controlled with Spinosad--an all natural bacteria that only controls caterpillar type insects. Other old time insecticides like Sevin will harm bees--so don't use it! We offer Spinosad at Skillin's under the trade name of Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew by Bonide.

*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!

*Skillin's Moisture Meter: (8/03/2011)

New outdoor plantings (of vegetables, annuals, perennials, and certainly shrubs and trees) require 1 inch of water per week optimally spread out over at least two deep waterings per week. A "deep watering" is defined as a slow soaking of your plant's roots.

(More detail about "deep waterings": A soaking rain which brings a half inch of rain or more qualifies as a deep watering. In lieu of rain a deep watering can be accomplished by letting water run slowly out of a watering can or the end of your hose into each plant's root system or by having a soaker hose at work for several hours twice a week. In "non soaker hose situations", pause on your watering if the water starts to run off; let the water soak in and then begin to water again. Repeat this process several times and move onto the next plant. For larger trees and shrubs (and if you do not have a soaker hose) merely set a hose against the tree or shrub for 1 to 2 hours and let the water almost trickle into the ground and down into the plant's root system. Again if there is runoff, pause and let the water soak in. )

This Week's Moisture Meter Readings:

Quality rain (1).

Deep waterings required by you: (1).

Skillin's Country received a very generous supply of rain this past Friday night. That rain and some showers the previous Wednesday evening have served us well over the last few days. But some real sunny days over this past weekend have dried some areas again. Possible thunder showers are forecast over the next few days. Don't put those hoses away! I am thinking that a deep watering as described above will be needed by the end of this week or by this weekend of the 6th and 7th! Our plants are growing well and pulling moisture--do not deny them!

Stay tuned over the next few days--I will post any updated thoughts right here!

Let us know if you have any watering questions!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
August 1, 2011

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