Mid-Atlantic

July, 2003
Regional Report

Plant Bush Beans

Bush beans are one of my favorites for easy succession plantings. Once hot weather knocks back the spinach, for instance, I will replant that area with bush beans. They grow and produce quickly in the hot summer weather and, unlike pole beans, require no support. Raw or cooked, tender homegrown green beans are delicious.

Make Your Garden a Butterfly Haven

Butterflies are attracted to flowers grown in masses, including those of cosmos, nepeta, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, trumpet vine, lantana, verbena, zinnias, and definitely purple coneflower. You can also welcome butterflies with a small patch of muddy ground for them to drink from. To ensure butterfly and caterpillar safety, your garden should be pesticide-free.

Apply Beneficial Nematodes

The name sounds just awful but beneficial nematodes parasitize the larvae of some of our most dreaded garden pests, including borers and Japanese beetles. The time of year to apply depends on which pest you are treating. The nematodes are usually mixed with water and applied to the soil, preferably when the soil is already moist.

Mulch Tomatoes

Now that the soil has finally warmed up, it is time to mulch tomatoes, peppers, and other warm-season crops. Use organic matter, such as half-finished compost, old chopped leaves, straw, herbicide-free grass clippings, cocoa bean hulls, or similar material. Place the mulch in a flat layer several inches deep, and keep it several inches away from the plant stems.

Feed Container Plants

Container plants, either flowers or vegetables, need constant feeding because they are grown in artificially limited soil conditions. The nutrients leach out of the potting mix and need to be replenished regularly to keep the plants growing and blooming their best. Use a foliar feed and/or a slow-release form, and read and follow the package instructions. Look for a complete analysis such as 10-10-10 plus minors or similar proportions.

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