Mid-Atlantic

July, 2008
Regional Report

Wondering About Disgusting Spots on Mulch?

"There's ugly yellow-white stuff on my mulch and it's spreading," e-mailed a garden client. "Is it dangerous? When can you come remove it?" I replied that it was dog vomit slime mold, not harmful, just unsightly. No dog is responsible, it's just nature at work. Slime mold is a plasmodium, a blob of protoplasm without cell walls yet enclosed in a cell membrane.

Check Soil Moisture After Rain

Even a heavy rain doesn't absolve us of watering containers and garden beds. A quick, intense rain may run off or not penetrate beyond the mulch layer or the top inch of soil in a container. Though my rain gauge showed 3 inches of water after our last rain, the shower was too brief to do much good for plants. A wilting tomato plant alerted me to check the soil. Dry as a desert around the roots under the moist crust. So I grabbed the watering wand to give all a long drink.

Deadhead Repeater Daylilies

The American Hemerocallis Society recommends removing spent flowers during bloom season to stimulate development of new flowers, prevent seed formation, or simply improve plant appearance. Repeater daylilies tend to drop spent flowers, and sometimes a bloom will self-pollinate, leaving a seedpod to form. Removing pods will free up energy to benefit the entire plant.

Take Advantage of Plant Sales

In southeastern Pennsylvania, sales of annuals and tropicals are starting earlier than usual. Some garden centers already have 50 percent off specials. What an opportunity to fill empty spots in perennials beds and mixed borders, or simply indulge in a plant you've admired. Remember to calculate all the $$ you saved when you bring those beauties home.

Plant More Beets, Beans, Squash

Keep your favorite summer vegetables coming into early fall by succession planting. Sow summer vegetable seeds twice more in July, waiting two weeks between plantings. This gives extended harvest for yellow, purple, and green bush beans; beets; crookneck and yellow squash; and more. Pull out spent bean plants when they've stopped producing.

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