The Dirt – Counting the Days

Counting the Days

This past week was just what we needed. It was, for sure, just what I needed.

It felt like the heat and the drought were going to hang around all summer. It was beating things down. It was beating me down, too.

At home, I was dragging hoses and setting up sprinklers every chance I got. I was keeping ahead of things, but I felt like I was running in circles. I was ready for a break.

And then, just like that, it came.

Much needed rains and pleasantly cool temperatures. This past week was amazing, and like I said, it was just what we needed.

I’m recharged now… and so is my garden!

I know summer is far from over. By the time this issue arrives in your inbox, the heat and humidity should be back, and my guess is it will be around a while. It’s August, no earth-shattering prediction there. Good news is, at least we got to enjoy a nice break and a chance to catch our breath. That’s big.

Even though August heat is in our future, the good news is fall is fast approaching. It’s already time to start to planting fall veggies. In a few weeks, we’ll be talking about fall lawn care and shortly after that, we’ll be kicking off our fall planting season. We’re almost there!

But first things first… the rest of summer awaits.

If there’s anything we can do to help you through this next stretch, just let us know. Or if you’re ready to start talking about fall, let us know that, too. Just stop on by, we’d love to see you!

Cameron Rees, General Manager

What’s New? Summer Brings All Kinds of Treats for the Eyes!

New succulents just arrived!
Double Dynamite Crapemyrtle…a flowering machine through the heat of the summer!
Limelight Panicle Hydrangea…always a crowd favorite!
Rose-of-Sharon - also known as Althea - are loaded!
The Butterfly Bush are loaded, too!
Monarch caterpillars enjoying a meal!
And that’s why they call them Butterfly Bush!
Helen’s Flower just coming into bloom!
Ornamental grasses add such a nice touch this time of the year!

“Thymely” Advice:
Fall Veggie Gardens Start Now!

It’s time to start planting fall veggies!

Did you know that much of what we plant during the cool weather of spring also does well in the cooler weather of fall. And, in many cases, even better!

It’s time to start planting slower-maturing crops like carrots, beets and kale now and over the next few weeks. Then get ready to plant faster maturing crops like spinach, lettuce, radishes and turnips. Start planting those around mid-August and continue into mid-September.

Cole crops like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage also do great in the fall. You can get those started from seed immediately if you haven’t done so already or wait and watch for transplants to start showing up in our garden center. That usually happens later in August.

And of course, continue to harvest and enjoy your summer crops. Many of those will keep producing until fall frosts put an end to them.

And one last veggie gardening tip.

Plant cover crops.

Cover crops are just what they sound like, crops of various plants, grown in the veggie garden to keep the ground covered. That’s why they call them cover crops!

But, why would you do that?

First of all, bare ground grows weeds. If ground is left bare, Mother Nature will make sure it doesn’t stay that way very long. She’ll have a nice crop of weeds growing the in no time, guaranteed.

Mulch is always one weed control option, but another, is planting something there yourself. That crop then helps choke out Mother Nature’s weeds.

That something else can always be a new veggie crop, but if one of those is not desired, them it’s time for a cover crop to step in. It just something easy to plant, easy to grown and easy to terminate, used as a “garden placeholder”.

Besides providing good week control, cover crops also help improve your garden soil. They can help build up soil fertility, add valuable organic matter and help keep soil life active and healthy. All of these  benefit future plantings.

We have lots of seed available, both veggie and cover crop, and if you have any questions, just ask!

Dealing with Hot and Dry

We all know the answer to hot and dry is water, water, and more water.

We got a little break from that this past week, but with summer weather returning, we’ll soon be on those hoses again.

But there are other issues with hot and dry that go beyond needing to water.

For example, maybe you’ve noticed things in the veggie garden don’t seem to produce very well following periods of hot weather. Well, there’s a reason.

Temps in the 90s or higher can affect the pollination of plants. That can result in things like tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumbers flowering, but not setting fruit. Does that sound familiar? That problem goes away on its own when slightly cooler temperatures return. You can also try using fruit set products like Fertilome Tomato and Pepper Set during those hot stretches to improve pollination and fruit.

Certain pest problems, especially spider mite outbreaks, are more common during stretches of hot, dry weather as well. Rainfall tends to keep these pests washed off to the extent they don’t become problematic; but, when that rain stays away for prolonged periods, problems can arise. Watch for them and react quickly when you identify an outbreak. Washing things off periodically also helps. Setting up sprinklers or giving plants a good blast from the hose periodically helps keep those problems washed off.

And, you may have noticed some of the weeds in your lawn really taking off lately.

Warm season grassy weeds really stand out this time of the year. Hot weather weakens the growth of our cool season, tall fescue lawns, slowing them down. At the same time, warm season grassy weeds are loving it, and well…growing like weeds!

These issues are always worse when there’s moisture to work with. That could be from irrigation, or from summer rains, like we picked up last week. That precipitation was much appreciated, but unfortunately, it’s brought some of these issues to life in a big way.

You can try treating problem areas in the lawn with a product like Fertilome Weed-Out with Crabgrass Killer, making sure you follow label directions, especially the part about follow-up applications. You’ll want to make sure you do that. And know, at this stage of growth, you won’t always be able to completely take out those unwanted invaders, but you will be able to put a serious hurt on them, minimizing the resulting damage they will cause.