Beautifully blooming petunias in the Display and Trial Garden on the St. Paul campus of the U of M.
Early maturing vegetables such as leaf lettuce, radishes and spinach turn bitter and go to seed in July's heat. Pull them up, add a little fertilizer, and replant with broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower to harvest next fall. Or, instead of vegetables, you could sow a "green manure" cover crop -- clover, buckwheat, or annual rye-- to keep weeds out. Then turn them into the soil in the fall, before they go to seed, to add nutrients and organic matter for next year.
Make a habit of deadheading (removing faded blossoms) whenever possible from flowering annuals and perennials to prevent infection by the gray mold pathogen, Botrutis. (this disease is favored in warm, humid weather typical of July and August.) Flower infections can ultimately lead to the death of the entire plant. Of course, deadheading keeps plants looking better, too, and encourages them to keep blooming.
Summer lawn tips:
- Raise the height of your lawn mower blade to 3" and mow when the grass is 4 - 4 1/2" tall.
- Water the lawn thoroughly when walking across leaves footprints that don't spring right back.
- Wait to fertilize until late August or September when temps cool and grass grows actively again.
- Dig up weeds now, but don't spray the lawn with herbicide until fall.
Yard and Garden News Editor: Karl Foord
Technical Editor: Bridget Barton