New England

June, 2006
Regional Report

Fertilize With Epsom Salts

There's evidence that fruiting of tomatoes and peppers is improved by applying Epsom salts, which contains sulfur and magnesium. Apply 1 tablespoon of granules around each transplant, or spray a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering, and fruit set. You can find it at drug and grocery stores.

Prune Early-Blooming Clematis

If your clematis blooms only in spring, once it's finished blooming you can prune damaged and wayward stems, and cut back stems if you need to control the size of the vine. Leave the decorative seed heads.

Deadhead Early Bloomers

Once early summer perennials, such as peonies and foxgloves, have finished blooming, take the time to clip off the spent flowers to spare the plant the energy it would spend on forming seeds. That is, unless you plan to save the seed and do some propagating of your own. In that case, leave some seedheads until they turn dry and collect the seeds before the wind and the birds get to them.

Raise Containers Off the Ground

To allow good drainage in your container plantings, raise the pots off the ground or deck so water can seep out the drainage holes. This also will reduce the staining that can occur when pots sit directly on wooden steps or a deck. You can purchase pot feet from garden supply stores, or make your own using flat stones of similar size, rubber bumpers from the hardware store, or even old checkers from the game you never play anymore. Anything that will elevate the pot a bit should work.

Fertilize Flowers

With all the rain we've been having, nutrients may need to be replenished in your garden soil and in containers. Dilute a liquid fertilizer and spray the foliage, then water the soil with the solution. Always fertilizer when the soil is already moist or the nutrients can damage roots.

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