Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2005

Summer in the garden

May 26, 2005


I received an overwhelming response from readers thanking me for the spring garden calendar we published in February. It sets my mind at ease to know I'm not the only one who scribbles daily to-do lists and fills a calendar with activities to conquer. With the sweltering days of summer fast approaching, the landscape will need some TLC to survive - and hopefully thrive. Here are some reminders to keep you on top of the tasks.


1: Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia, lilac, quince and azaleas. These dried up blooms are an eyesore, and vital nutrients will continue to flow to the spent flowers.

3: Wash leaves of houseplants, re-pot them if needed and fertilize them.

4: Remove flower stakes for alliums, irises and other plants that have finished their blooming cycles.

5: Pinch the tips of herbs, chrysanthemums, impatiens, petunias and coleus to keep them bushier.

7: If it hasn't been raining, water 1 to 1 1/2 inches in one application to all of the landscape once weekly throughout the summer.

9: Prune fruit trees. They will be dropping fruit naturally, and you can aid in the process. Ideally the fruit should be 6 to 8 inches apart.

11: Cut down the dead, yellow foliage from spent bulbs such as tulips and hyacinth.

12: Fertilize strawberries with 1/2 pound of nitrogen per 100 feet; water them regularly.

14: It's Flag Day. Hang a flag in the yard to draw more attention to your landscape.

15: Stop harvesting asparagus and rhubarb but leave foliage to store food reserves. Continue to fertilize and water.

18: Prune pines and spruces.

19: Father's Day! Mow dad's lawn, but be sure not to nick the tree trunks.

21: The first day of summer. Drink a glass of lemonade on the patio.

23: Remove cool-season vegetables such as radishes, spinach and lettuce.

25: Replace pansies and violets in pots with more heat-tolerant annuals.

28: Harvest broccoli, cabbage and peas.


2: Continue to water 1 to 1 1/2 inches once a week if it is not raining.

3: Take the lawnmower in for annual maintenance.

4: Whip up a fabulous dish for a Fourth of July celebration. Harvest tomatoes, squash, okra, peppers, beans and cucumbers frequently to promote more production.

6: Pinch off faded rose blooms.

8: Harvest raspberries when they are fully colored and easily removed from their stems.

12: Dig, divide and re-plant (or share) irises and lilies.

16: Remove any "sucker growth" from the base of trees and large branches.

17: Don't forget to water outdoor pots and hanging baskets almost daily and fertilize them weekly.

18: Keep all newly planted spring plants well-watered to establish healthy root systems.

20: Harvest pears from the tree when they are light to dark green. Pears are best when they ripen off of the tree; so let them yellow in your fruit bowl.

22: Bring in some fresh cut flowers to enjoy over the weekend.

23: Throw down some mulch if you haven't already. It will keep weeds to a minimum and make water go further.

26: Inspect the garden for grubs and other insects; if you see them, you may want to apply insecticide.

28: Start seeds for fall crops such as cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.


2: Continue to water 1 to 1 1/2 inches with a one-time weekly application.

3: Continue to weed and deadhead spent blooms.

5: Harvest onions after the tops are yellow.

6: Harvest potatoes when their tops are yellow and corn when the kernels ooze a milky substance when pierced.

8: Fertilize asters, mums, sedum and other fall-blooming perennials.

11: Sow carrots, beets, kale and snap beans.

13: Seed a new lawn or fill in bare spots in an existing one.

16: Sow hollyhocks, poppies and larkspur for spring blooms.

19: Peruse gardening catalogs and order spring flowering bulbs for planting this autumn.

21: Prune dead blooms from roses.

24: To conserve water, let the lawn go dormant and brown, but be sure to continue watering plants.

25: Don't forget to water outdoor pots and hanging baskets daily and fertilize weekly.

26: Bring some cut flowers indoors.

27: Turn your compost pile.

31: Breathe a sigh of relief that the cooler days of autumn are on the way!


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