It seems we’ve finally settled into summer like weather and we can garden in earnest. After the much needed rain we had Sunday all the plants will be happy! The following are some tips for late spring/early summer:
Weeding is a major issue, at least in my garden. They seem to be growing faster than I can pull them. It’s easiest to weed after a rain when the soil isn’t so hard and dry. If we haven’t had rain, you can water the night before weeding. This saves a lot of time and effort.
Don’t waste your time just pulling weeds from the top. Use a trowel and get the roots or the weeds will just grow back. The extra few seconds to remove the roots will save you lots of time over the course of the summer.
If you don’t have time to weed, at least remove the seed heads. You can get the weeds later.
After weeding it is important to use some type of organic mulch. The mulch helps prevent weeds and when a few do sprout they’re easy to pull. Mulch also helps keep moisture in the soil by slowing evaporation and protecting the soil from the drying sun.
I use compost as mulch. Compost is great mulch because it also adds nutrients to your soil so you don’t need to fertilize as much. It also is a good soil amendment no matter what your soil conditions, including clay. Compost is available by the bag or delivered by the yard from most nurseries.
It’s very tempting to remove the leaves of those daffodils and other spring bulbs to get them out of the way. However it’s best to let the leaves yellow out naturally and then remove. The foliage is providing food and energy for the bulb which helps the bulb bloom next spring.
It’s time to start watching for powdery mildew. I already noticed a few patches on my Ninebark. It is early, but probably a result of those hot humid days we’ve had. Also check susceptible plants like pulmonaria, phlox and epimedium.
If you notice powdery mildew (it looks like white powdery blotches on the leaves) remove the affected leaves and treat with an environmentally safe fungicide that is listed for powdery mildew. Be sure you disinfect your hands and pruner after doing this before working on another plant. Spray Lysol works very well or you can use a 10% Clorox solution.
If you do move any perennials or have moved plants this spring be sure to keep them well hydrated during any dry spells. They will need more water than the rest of your garden.
Good news regarding impatiens. In response to the Impatiens Downy Mildew, a hybrid impatiens, the Bounce series, has been developed to be resistant to the mildew which has been devastating impatiens the past few years. The growth habit is a little different being taller than the impatiens we’re used to; however, you might want to check them out.