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Summer Is Fading Fast August 20th, 2018

SUMMER IS FADING FAST

According to Mother Nature we still have 30 plus days of summer. However, our flowers and gardens, even some shrubs and trees are showing signs that fall is fast approaching.  What should we be doing to get ready for fall?

There is still time to plant some vegetables and get enough harvest to be worthwhile.  Green beans are a very short season crop.  Plant in the next few days and they should produce a nice crop of beans.  Squash should have time to grow and produce a harvest.

Now is the time to start putting cold crops in the ground. Radish will be ready to harvest in about 3 weeks from time of planting.  You could get 2 to 3 crops this fall.  Lettuce, and other greens can be planted anytime starting now. Spinach and other greens planted now can be harvested this fall and should over winter for another harvest in the spring.  Cabbage, broccoli can also go in the next few days. These are just a few of the things that can be planted in the vegetable garden.

Flowers are a little different story.  A lot of summer flowers are beginning to show the signs of wear and tear from the summer.  If they are still looking great I would leave them alone for a few more weeks.  If they are pretty well shot from heat, rain, bugs and disease I would pull them out.  I would not plant anymore summer annuals unless I had a spot that I really needed color.  Then I would look for a garden center ready to make a deal on some late season plants.

Mums and pansies are beginning to arrive in the stores.  Personally, I think it’s a little too soon start buying mums and pansies.  I would wait until after Labor Day.  The early mums are usually small and don’t look all that great. Pansies don’t like the heat and will grow tall and weak in the heat. They could be cut back and then regrown into nice plants.  That just seems like extra labor that could be saved by waiting 2 weeks to plant.

Mums will give you 3 to 5 weeks of color and then be through blooming for the season.  They will come back next year.  Pansies will last all the way through the winter and well into next spring.  In extreme cold weather they may quit blooming and seem to shrink.  Give them a few warm sunny days and they will be right back in bloom.

Now comes the most important part of this blog. If you plan on seeding new lawn or over-seeding your existing lawn get to it.  You should have already killed the existing weeds in the lawn.  If you haven’t then, do it as soon as possible.  Remember, if you apply a weed killer to the lawn you need to wait 30 days before planting new seed. Roundup or similar products are not weed killers.  They kill everything that’s green and in an active state of growth.  They do not affect seed.  You can plant 48 hours after applying them.  They do not hurt shrubs and trees as long as you don’t apply them to the leafy part of the plant.

Fall seeding can be started as early as mid-August.  The earlier you seed the more likely you are to be successful. So, get to it.

 
Deer O Deer - June 12th, 2018

DEER O DEER

I thought that was a cute way to begin.  We hear so much about the problems people have with deer.  Recently, I have seen a number of posts with pictures on Facebook of deer in yards. Pictures of deer strolling along the street in broad daylight doing no harm.  Just out for a stroll.

In my own case I have looked out the window about midnight, four nights in a row, to see deer grazing in my yard.  I have not seen any damage they have done to my plants.  I haven't tried to scare them away.  Just taken a kind of live and let live attitude.

I don’t think they do as much damage as they get blamed for. There are other animals that damage our plants and deer get the blame.  Rabbits, squirrels, racoons just to name a few.  Damage down close to the ground is likely not a deer.  Taller plants and plants with the top eaten out is probably deer.  Regardless, we don’t want our plants destroyed by wildlife.  I understand that.

When we were running the garden center I always thought it was funny to hear people complain about deer problems.  First, they always seemed to think the deer picked on them exclusively.  No one else had a deer problem.  If they said they had four in their yard last night and I said I just had a customer left the store that had six in their yard.  With the next breath the ones in their yard had grown to eight.  I always wondered how they multiplied that fast.

Let me say here that generally what will keep one animal away will keep most if not all animals away.  Plants that one animal will eat most animals will eat.  So as a general what works for one works for all.  Nothing seems to work all the time.  Wish I could give you a hard and fast rule.

In my case, I spray plants that I really want to protect with Deer Off every three months.  Ones that I am not too concerned about I leave alone.  They get nipped sometimes but usually not enough to worry about.  I will point out here that Deer Off does not have edible plants on the label.  However, the cost of testing and putting edible plants on the label was so expensive that the Company that produces Deer Off made the decision not to put edibles on the label.

Animals generally do not eat plants with a fragrance.  Very few herbs are subject to being damaged by animals.  They also suffer very little insect damage.  White flowers are very seldom bothered by animals.  Why, most white flowers have anywhere from slight to overpowering fragrances.  Fragrant roses have less damage than non-fragrant roses.

Mixing herbs and highly fragrant flowers such as marigolds in plantings of edibles or flower beds can help animals away.  I have containers of vegetables and flowers on my deck.  I usually stick a marigold in all the planters because I have a problem with squirrels. So far it has worked.

Animals have tastes just like we do.  What they eat tonight they may walk right by tomorrow night.  What they don’t eat in your neighbor's yard, they may totally destroy in your yard.  Just Mother Nature.

So' I would say don’t let the deer or other animal decide what you are going to plant.  Plant what you like where you like it.  Use a little common-sense and the damage will be little or none.  I use pesticides where needed. If you make the decision to use them read the label.  I have found they rarely work for people that don’t read the label.

REMEMBER IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADDRESSED LET'S KNOW.

 

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Plant of the Week - Broccoli

Broccoli

Broccoli

Of the Cabbage family 
High in vitamins A & D 
Grows best during the cool seasons of the year (Spring & Fall)

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