Western Mountains and High Plains

August, 2011
Regional Report

Ban Ants

This has been a bumper year for ants of all sizes and forms in and around the garden. You can prevent them from invading your garden by scattering coarse materials like coffee grounds or diatomaceous earth in areas where they nest. This will repel the ants so they go to a different location, away from your garden

Pinch Basil Often

Keep basil plants pruned or pinched back just above a set of leaves to prevent leggy plants and excessive flowering that can diminish its sweetness. Pinching encourages more branching and leaf production. Add the fresh trimmings to summer meals and you will be blessed with plenty more leaves for a batch of pesto later in the season

Avoid Overhead Watering

It's best to avoid overhead watering of vegetables as this tends to increase chances for diseases. Of course, you can't stop the rain, but you can control your maintenance routine. I prefer watering in the morning so that the foliage will be dry as it goes into the evening. Mulch tomatoes to reduce splashing onto the stems and leaves. Mulches also maintain uniform moisture levels.

Apply Rose Fertilizer

This is your last call to fertilize rose bushes. Get this done by mid-August to get the plants through the summer and fall. You don't need to fertilize again until next spring. Overfertilizing will stimulate succulent growth that may not have time to harden off before the first hard frost.

Identify Causes of Poor Fruit Set on Tomatoes

When night temperatures drop below 55 degrees, fruit set on tomatoes will be interrupted. High daytime temperatures exceeding 90 degrees early in the day (before 10:00 a.m.) will cause tomato blossoms to abort or fall off. Shading with a row cover or shade cloth may be helpful, if needed

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