Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2007
Regional Report

Replace Old Broccoli with New

Time to yank those old broccoli plants and replace them with new ones for fall production. Even though some broccoli plants will give you side shoots after the main head is removed, they are often not worth the garden space. So get started on new ones.

Replenish and Check Mulch

Make sure your mulch is well in place for the heat of summer. If you have thick straw mulch on the vegetable garden, check underneath it after a rain or watering to make sure the water gets all the way to the soil. If not, pull it back in places, water deeply, and then replace it.

Cut Back Lily Stalks

Cut back spent lily stalks by about one third to one half. You need to leave the stalks in place so the leaves can replenish the bulbs. Also, the stalk lets you know where they are for transplanting. If you need to move them, dig bulbs in late August or early September and plant them immediately without letting the bulbs dry out.

Watch for Tomato Hornworms

Tomato hornworms usually appear in gardens in late July and early August. These huge caterpillars can decimate a plant in a few hours. They are wonderfully camouflaged, but if you see little dark green pellets laying on the leaves, look under nearby leaves for the critters (they are 3 or 4 inches long).

Stake Spindly Hibiscus

Get stakes ready for giant hibiscus plants just in case they are somewhat spindly. They can usually stand on their own, but if they are in any shade at all they may begin to fall over. Once they start blooming, the weight of the huge flowers can pull them down. A simple bamboo stake next to the stalk is sufficient.

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