New England

July, 2011
Regional Report

Watch out for the Squash Vine Borer

Check your squash and pumpkin plants for signs of the squash vine borer. The day-flying female adult moths are laying their eggs at the base of plants. These hatch out into larvae that tunnel into the stems, causing them to wilt. You may also see sawdust-like frass where the larvae entered the stems. Exclude adult moths with row covers until plants begin to bloom. Check stem bases for clusters of eggs and destroy them. Slit open infested stems and destroy the fat white larvae feeding inside, then cover the injured stems with soil to encourage rooting.

Deadhead Roses

Deadhead your hybrid tea and grandiflora roses by cutting back the faded blooms at least to the first leaf with five leaflets. This targeted deadheading can be quite time consuming with the more profusely blooming shrub, floriibunda, and polyantha roses. These can be deadheaded en masse with hedge clippers when most of flowers of a flush of bloom have faded

Plant Seeds for Fall Crops

Sow seeds of carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, lettuce, onions, daikon radish, Swiss chard, and turnips for fall harvests. Put lettuce seeds in the refrigerator for a week or two prior to planting so that the summer heat of the soil won't send the seeds into dormancy.

Give Tomatoes a Boost

Give your tomato plants a midsummer boost with a feeding of fish emulsion as the fruits begin to form. Keep an eye out for signs of late blight on your tomatoes and potatoes. This disease had been found in Connecticut as of early July and, especially if the weather remains wet, may soon rear its ugly head in other parts of our region.

Plan for Vacation Plant Care

Depending on how long you'll be away, plants growing in the ground may be able to fend for themselves in your absence if they are watered well before before you leave. But plants in containers will need regular attention, even if you're only gone for weekend during a midsummer hot spell. I collect my moveable container plants into one partially-shaded spot to make it easier for my plant sitter (usually a neighborhood teen) to make sure everything stays watered.

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