WAITING FOR THE BIG GUNS OF SUMMER: The Season of summer is three days old and with it’s arrival, we can expect summer thunderstorms which are the lifeblood of the garden plot. We don’t seem to experience many actual rainy days in summer anymore, so this makes the summer guns of thunder and lightning even more relevant for the garden. A quick afternoon storm freshens the garden and lawn and adds a certain electric atmosphere to the parched soil as well as provide a fresh aroma to the landscape.
THE LAST WEEK TO START LATE TOMATOES FROM SEED: Tomato plants for the early autumn tomato harvest cannot be found in hardwares and seed shops, so if you need late, late plants, you will have to grow your own by starting them from seed which is easy to do. All you need is a packet of seed such as Homestead, Rutgers or Marglobe, a bag of seed-starting medium and some containers. You will need one larger container to sow the packet of seed to get them started on the way to the two leaf stage will take about 12-days. They will then be ready to transplant to individual small containers and the plants will be ready for the late garden sometime in mid-July.
ENJOYING FIREFLIES ON A SUMMER EVENING: The fireflies have arrived and we certainly hope this will be a great year for them and that they will be a bright night for them all summer long. Last summer, there were not as many of these fireflies or lightening bugs, as my grandma always called them. Fireflies are good weather forecasters and it is said that when they abundantly light up a summer night, fair weather will come the next day. We believe this is a true prediction because usually after a summer thunderstorm that evening the fireflies appear in greater numbers. Maybe this is why last summer we didn’t see as many because there were few thunderstorms and also a year that was drier.
THE FIGHT IS ON AT THE HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS: As much as they fight for access at the feeders, it is unusual how they all manage to feed and satisfy appetites and produce another generation! Even with six to eight feeding ports on a feeder, the birds fight to control the whole feeder. They waste a lot of energy from the nectar fighting against each other. Continue to feed them all summer and change nectar twice a week. Save nectar and not waste much by only filling feeders half full. Even though they fight each other, hopefully the same hummer does not win all the time!
CONTROLLING MOLD AND MILDEW ON DECK, PORCH AND THE HOUSE: With the dampness of thunderstorms it promotes mildew and mold on walls, porches, decks and vinyl siding. You can control mildew and prevent it by using a 75% Mix of chlorine bleach and 25% water in a large spray bottle and spray the mixture abundantly on the affected areas and let it dry in. It will quickly work to control and destroy this nasty mess.
USING PEAT MOSS FOR LATE SUMMER VEGETABLES: The Dog Days will soon be arriving and make the soil in the late summer garden hot and dry. Give the hot soil more texture and also water retention qualities by applying a hand full of peat moss under all the seeds you sow before covering them up. You can add water to the peat moss before covering the seed up to promote quicker sprouting of the seed.
A QUICK SHOT OF FERTILIZER QUICK SHOT OF FERTILIZER FOR THE VEGETABLES OF HOT SUMMER: Pellet fertilizer of 10-10-10 may be just fine when applying under seed at planting time, but as the heat of summer stresses out the vegetable garden, summer crops need a quick boost and a jump-start from a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro or fish emulsion. Mix with the proper amount of water in a sprinkler can and pour directly at the base of the vegetable plants.
FERTILIZER PEP STICKS FOR FLOWER POTS, HANGING BASKETS AND CONTAINERS: The very best way to feed baskets and containers is with fertilizer pep sticks that cost around $2.50 per pack of twenty or fixe dollars for a pack of fifty. Apply one or two to a container according to the size of the container. One stick will feed the plant for over a month.
FEED TOMATOES NOW TO PREPARE FOR ABUNDANT HARVEST: Tomatoes at this time of summer are not reaching the pre-harvest mode. They need a very quick boost such as Miracle-Gro tomato liquid fertilizer to give them that quick booster shot. A small box of Miracle-Gro costs around four dollars and a box will provide a shot for all your growing tomato plants. The best thing about the Miracle-Gro is you cannot over-feed the plants.
THE DECK UMBRELLA NEEDS TO BE REMOVED WHEN A THUNDERSTORM IS FORECAST: Some thunderstorms in summer can be severe enough to blow the umbrella and it’s table over and if the table has a glass top, this can be damaging to the umbrella and the table. When a thunderstorm is in the forecast, let the umbrella down and remove it until the storm passes through. When you go on vacation, always remove the umbrella in case a storm blows in while you are away.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.