Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


June, 2008
Regional Report

Water Once, Twice, Thrice

Pots, hayracks, hanging baskets, window boxes -- containers of all sizes and shapes -- need extra TLC in hot weather. That means watering thoroughly three times. The first watering wets the top of the soil. The second deeper watering soaks to reach some roots. The third watering should penetrate the soil and soak all the roots until water seeps out the bottom.

Fertilize Heavy Feeders

Tomatoes, lilacs, and repeater daylilies can use an early-summer boost of food. Side-dress tomatoes with balanced organic fertilizer (5-10-5), compost, or aged manure to promote continuous blooming and fruiting. Repeater daylilies benefit from a slow-release, granular fertilizer with a moderate amount of nitrogen and high rates of phosphorus and potash, such as 5-10-15 and 6-12-12. Lilacs are forming flowers for next spring. Feed them now and clip off dead flower clusters.

Wear Sunscreen and Protective Clothing

Even five years ago, a lot of sunscreens were greasy. I swear they attracted bugs, which discouraged me from using them. Today most sunscreens all but disappear on application. Some contain insect repellent, too. Apply and reapply sunscreen with a 35 SPF rating liberally and frequently. Wear a brimmed hat and lightweight shirt and pants or shorts.

Limit Sun Time and Drink Liberally

Though it's mid-June, the heat and sun feel like July or August. Take it easy in the garden, and don't overexpose yourself to too much sun and heat. Work mornings and evenings outdoors. Keep a bottle of cool water nearby and sip often. Setting my cell phone to ring in 2-hour increments brings me back when gardening zen kicks in and I lose track of time. I tend to be compelled to "finish" weeding, edging, and cutting back, so the ringing reminds me to stop and find shade or take an iced tea break indoors.

Pruning Hollies

Hollies can be lightly pruned now by selectively removing longer branches to thin the bush and tidy the overall outline. Reach deep inside the bush to cut individual branches as needed. This helps light and air reach the interior of the plant and keeps it healthy. Shearing now will limit (or remove) this year's berry crop.


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