The heat has arrived in force! Time to finish up spring chores and help the garden ease into summer.
Temperatures really begin to heat up in June -- and that typically marks the end of the planting season in this region. But continue to check out clearance sales for garden plants -- there are often good deals to be had!
Be sure and add organic matter to your soil as you plant -- it will improve your ground over time and help get your new plants off to a great start.
Watch your lettuce and other cool-season vegetables; they tend to bolt, or send up a flowering stalk once it gets hot. Once they bolt, they're usually too bitter to eat. It's probably too hot to sow new lettuce seeds in the sunny garden, but you may be able to get a small crop if you plant in the shade.
Or, replace cool-season vegetables with warm-season crops such as beans, pumpkins, squash, and corn.
Test Garden Tip: If you're growing corn, carrots, or beans from seed, you can extend your harvests by planting a handful of seeds every two weeks. That way you can enjoy the produce over a period of weeks instead of all at once.
Unless your area experiences unseasonably cool, moist conditions, your spring-blooming bulbs' foliage should be yellowing. Add the leaves to your compost pile once they have turned yellow and pull out of the ground with no resistance. Don't remove the leaves before this, however -- otherwise your bulbs may not perform as well next year.
If you haven't already mapped out your garden's spring bulb display, do so now. That way you can know exactly what bulbs you'll want to purchase this fall and where to plant them so they'll look good next spring.
Heat-loving summer bulbs are coming into their own. If you haven't planted any yet, get them in the ground now.
Deadhead annuals, perennials, and summer-blooming shrubs to promote additional blooms. This will also prevent them from self-seeding.
Watch for signs of garden pests -- if you catch them early, you can usually keep them from becoming an epidemic that ruins your yard.
Watch your tomatoes for spotted leaves -- pull them off the plant and throw them in the trash as soon as they develop. This may stop diseases such as early or late blight from sucking the life out of your plants so you can enjoy greater harvests.
Lacebugs are a big problem on azaleas, though you don't usually notice the damage until August or September. But now's the time to attack them. Look at your azalea's leaves for black spots on the bottoms and the black-and-white insects on the leaf tops. Spray with neem oil, insecticidal soap, or a similar product to keep them in check.
Examine junipers, birches, cherry and arborvitae for bagworms and other leaf-eating caterpillars, then treat with Bacillus thuringiensis as needed. Keep an eye out also for aphids and other small sucking insects, as well as whitefly. Spider mites can be treated with pyrethrums, an extract from mums.
Keep an eye out for containers of standing water in your garden -- they may be breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Change the water in your birdbaths daily and use environmentally friendly mosquito-control products in water gardens.
This is a good month to take cuttings from the fresh growth of many trees and shrubs, including serviceberry, lemon verbena, chokeberry, angel's trumpet, bougainvillea, butterfly bush, hydrangea, jasmine, dogwood, magnolia, and stewartia.
Your grass will grow faster as temperatures climb, so mow regularly. Avoid letting your grass grow too long; it's best to cut less than one-third of the total length of the leaf off at one time.
If grubs were a problem last year, you may need to treat your lawn for them. While May is the ideal time, you can still apply a grub killer in early June.
If you water your lawn during dry spells, be sure to water deeply. It's best to let the water soak into the soil rather than watering frequently so only the top of ground stays moist.
Hi, I'm Justin. Here in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden today, talk about ways to keep your garden looking as great as it can. One of the easiest things you can do is deadhead. While the term may not sound very friendly, simply put, is removing the dead flowers off your plants. There are lots of reasons to deadhead your plants. One of my favorites is that you can get extra blooms from them. On this white flax for example, if you cut the stalk right here, this little side shoot will grow into a whole new stalk that blooms so you can enjoy it for several weeks. We deadheaded this flax a couple of weeks ago and you can see why it's such a great thing to re-bloom. We took the stalk off right here, and already, those clusters are producing the flowers. Should you pick up your dead flowers and throw 'em on compost pit or just let them drop on the ground? It's really up to you. If you're a neat and tidy gardener, you'll probably wanna throw them in the compost, but if you don't mind and decomposing right in your garden and adding to your soil structure there, it's fine to leave it fall. Another great reason to deadhead is you'll stop your plants from dropping seeds all over your garden. Some, like this black-eyed Susan, are notorious for that. If you don't cut off the dead flowers, you'll end up with a million unwanted seedlings all over your beds and borders next year. This stem of Russian sage was mostly done. So, we can cut off right here. It'll make the garden look better, but it also does another thing, the plant won't produce seeds, and if it doesn't put its energy into making seeds, the energy goes back into the root system. So, next year, we'll have a stronger, more flowering plant. The important part about deadheading is removing the faded flowers. It doesn't really matter where you do it on the plant; however, it'll look best in your garden if you cut it all the way back to the junction of a stem and a stalk. This will also give you the best chance to re-bloom because the new bloom shoots come out of that junction between the stem and a stalk. So, cut it all the way back, it'll look great and you probably get some re-bloom out of it too. So, spent a few minutes deadheading in your garden every week, you'll be amazed with the results.
-Weeds are one of the gardener's worst enemies. The safest and least expensive way to deal with them is to pull them by hand. Lots of gardeners they're grabbing weeds and yanking is an effective way to get the job done. They can actually make your problem worst if you're not getting all the roots out. With little spreading weeds such as creeping Charlie or chickweed, get your hand underneath the foliage and feel around for where the stems come out to the ground. Pulling up from there, make sure you get the roots as well as the leaves. Tall upright weeds are a little more straight forward. If you keep them from breaking off as you pulled them, grab the stem as close to the ground as you can and then tug up. If you're dealing with Dandelions or other weeds that have a top root, use a tool such as a traveler wheeler. Sink your tool under the ground next to the base of the plant, getting it deep into the soil then tip it toward the weed, that will help popped the roots over the ground without breaking them. If you leave the roots to the ground, most weeds will regenerate setting up new foliage. The foliage may seem spin away at first. But the roots that stay on the ground continue to grow stronger. And [unk] the root system, the harder the weed is to pull. Wanna make weeding a little bit easier yet, do it when the soil is moist. Dry hard soil is tougher for getting those roots out of the ground.