THINGS TO DO:
Plant cool season vegetables from seed. I know it is hard to think about "cool season" anything as hot as it seems to be. But believe it or not there are cooler days ahead and there are a lot of vegetables that will enjoy maturing during those days. Plant the seed of beets, carrots, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, radishes, spinach and turnips now and they will germinate quickly in the warm soil. These crops will be ready for harvest in the fall. We have many of these seeds available from Lake Valley and Pagano and we will have cool season vegetables for sale by plants in early September.
Deadhead. I know I write about deadheading often but it is especially important this time of year if you want to encourage your landscape plants to continue to bloom and flourish through fall. Remember that the purpose of a flower is to attract pollinating insects and birds so that the plant can produce seed. Once plants start going to seed they will usually stop flowering or at least flower less. If you interrupt this cycle by removing pollinated or seed bearing blooms from your perennials and annuals they will put their energy back into producing flowers. This also keeps invasive plants from self-sowing and taking over. Prune spent flowers off to where a new bud has formed or if there is no new bud take it down to the next leaf. When the deadheads outnumber the blooms, shear the whole plant back to the foliage and it will soon rebloom. Towards the end of the season you may want to let desirable plants reseed, collect the seed, or leave it for overwintering birds to enjoy.
PLANT OF THE MONTH:
Cherry. Cherries are beautiful, vase shaped trees that flower light pink to white in spring and produce an abundance of fruit in early summer. Semi-dwarf varieties will reach 12-15' tall where regular size trees can grow to 30'. The leaves are dark green and 3-5" long with a finely toothed edge. They require a high number of chill hours (number of hours below 45 degrees before they will bloom) so reliably set fruit in our area. The biggest enemy of the fruit is birds and netting is a good defense against them. The varieties we have in stock are 'Lapins' which is a dark red sweet cherry best known as the self-fertile 'Bing', 'Stella' is another self-fertile sweet cherry that bears at a young age and is an excellent pollinizer for other sweet cherries and 'Rainier' which is a yellow sweet cherry with a red blush that has excellent bud hardiness and can be pollinated by a 'Stella'. We planted a 5 gallon 'Stella' last summer and it is already 9' tall and gave us 8 cherries this year-ok, we got 7 & the birds got 1.
|Our 'Stella' cherry tree, 1 year old|