Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > June 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Take Time to Smell the Roses

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Take Time to Smell the Roses

It doesn’t matter whether you’re growing tomatoes and cucumbers or zinnias and black-eyed susans, there are some things you can do now to ensure your gardens are still going strong in September.
1—Make sure you pick the right plant for the spot.  You love geraniums but if you have a shady spot, you’re not going to be happy with what you get (or, more precisely, the flowers you DON’T get).  If you have a dry slope, don’t plant Japanese iris which need damp soil.  If you want a small dainty flowering plant, don’t plant an elephant ear.  A neighbor of mine asked for help with her Knock-Out rose.  She’d had it two years and not only did it not bloom, but last summer and, already, this year, the leaves were covered with “white film” (powdery mildew).  In talking with her, I found that she had planted it on the north side of her house where it got no direct sun—ever.  “Donna, roses need full sun.”
“I know, but I wanted color on the side of the house.”   Ah…
2--Pay attention to Mother Nature.  If we got a deluge on Monday, chances are you won’t need to water anything on Wednesday—except, maybe, some smaller potted plants or tiny seedlings.  If we had a windy day, check on tall plants to be sure they didn’t get blown over.  If they did, tie them back up.  If we’ve had a rainy couple of weeks (or a whole month—like May) then some plants might need to be fed a few days sooner (excess rain can leach nutrients out of the soil.)  And for my neighbor, down the street, whose sprinkler is on automatic—turn it off on rainy days!
3--Keep weeds and debris out of your gardens.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, weeds and debris provide excellent hiding places for insects and breeding grounds for mold and diseases.   
4—Fertilize correctly.  Plants need energy to bloom.  Adding the correct fertilizer in a timely fashion can help, but get the correct fertilizer for your plants.  High nitrogen (the first number on the fertilizer) will give you lush green top growth.  That’s fantastic—unless you’re growing tomatoes or marigolds and want flowers, instead.  Read the label and do exactly what it says—more is NEVER better.  Plants can recover from being underfed, but overfeeding might damage or even kill them.
5—Take a walk through your garden.  And take a peek under those leaves to see if any hungry little critters are hiding.  Investigate that tiny white splotch on your squash.  Is it powdery mildew?  Is that dark spot on your rose leaf the beginnings of black spot or just a piece of debris?  Catching a problem early is one of the best ways to keep your garden healthy. 
6—Remember our pollinators.  If I absolutely have to treat a plant for insects, I apply just before dark—when bees have usually gone back to the hive for the night.  And, if I can hand-pick, I do.  Then I don’t have to spray at all.
7—Most important of all, sit on your deck or patio and enjoy your garden.  Admire the new buds on your rosebush, the blossoms on your cucumbers, the bright new green foliage on your basil. Get excited over that first tomato or first bud opening.  Cut a bud or two and bring indoors to enjoy.  Take a picture and post it on Facebook.  Remember why we do this.
Posted: 6/13/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnies, flowers, garden, vegetables
Some very practical suggestions, kind of common sense, but surprisingly often missed.
6/16/2016 4:21:04 PM

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