New England

July, 2013
Regional Report

Water New Plantings Regularly

Remember to keep new plantings watered regularly throughout their first season as they become established. When you do water, put down enough water to soak the entire root zone, then let the top few inches of soil dry out before watering well again. Keep in mind that brief summer thunderstorms may drop a lot of water, but often so quickly, it runs off and doesn't soak deep into the soil. So don't assume that Mother Nature watered sufficiently; check soil moisture by digging down a few inches to check.

Cut Back Early Bloomers

When early bloomers like catmint (Nepeta), candytuft (Iberis), moss phlox (Phlox subulata), maiden pinks (Dianthus deltoides), rock soapwort (Saponaria) and Hungarian speedwell (Veronica austriaca teucrium) finish flowering, shear them back by one-third to one-half to improve their appearance and promote possible re-bloom. Cut plants like hardy geraniums, Jacob's ladder (Polemonium) and perennial salvias back to their clump of basal foliage after their first flush of bloom is past.

Unearth Some Early Potatoes

Harvest some small, tender early potatoes by carefully reaching into the hilled-up soil around your blooming potato plants that and plucking off some golf ball size tubers. (Flowering is the cue that the plants have begun to form potatoes.) Then firm the soil back around the roots. You'll have some delicious "new" potatoes for supper and your potato plants will continue to mature the rest of their crop without missing a beat.

Rejuvenate Container Plantings

Container plantings often begin to look a little "peaked" by midsummer. If blossoming is getting sparse on trailing plants like petunias, cut them back to stimulate a new flush of growth and flowers. If your pot or hanging basket contains several plants, trim back any that have grown so vigorously they are over-running their neighbors. Some plants, lobelia for example, may take a break from blooming in the summer heat. Trim them back and you'll get a new flush of blossoms as the weather cools in late summer.

Sow Seeds for Fall Crops

There is still time in most parts of our region to sow another crop of snap beans to harvest before frost. Sow seeds of cole crops, carrots, Swiss chard, peas and Chinese cabbage for fall harvest.

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