6/7/13: In the garden this week

Ninebark seed capsules in June, right after blooming ends.

This picture shows a closeup of a ninebark shrub in my garden: this is a cluster of seed capsules. This lovely color will remain all season.

Summer is in full swing: warm-weather vegetables should be in the ground, and summer perennials are opening by the minute (or will resume once the rain stops–see the previous post). From now through October, my perennial borders will be riots of color. Here are some suggestions for gardening this week:

— as I write this, it’s raining steadily, and the rain is supposed to continue through tomorrow. So avoid watering this week. Your lawn really, really won’t need it. And the more you water, the more you will have to mow.  The only things that may need watering are newly established plants, if it turns hot and dry toward the end of the week.

— your tender vegetables such as tomatoes, squash, eggplants, basil, and cucumbers, should be in the ground. If they’re not, what are you waiting for? You should already be using fresh basil (yay!). Every few days, wipe down the stems of summer squash plants to remove the eggs of squash vine borers.

— continue to seed beans, chard, kale, beets, carrots, and turnips as space becomes available. I try to put in at least half a row of beans every couple of weeks to ensure a continuous harvest.

— pull out arugula and other cool-weather greens that have gone to seed–they don’t taste good once they bolt. The same goes for lettuce–once the flowering stalk develops, pull out and compost the plant. You can grow greens once again when the weather turns cool in fall.

— prune spring-blooming shrubs after they finish blooming, and remove spent flowers on lilacs, rhododendrons, and mountain laurel so the plants put their energy into making new flower buds for next year.

— now that woody plants have fully leafed out, it’s safe to do nonremedial pruning once again. And now, when they are in active growth, is the best time to prune evergreen shrubs such as yew, boxwood, and holly.

— when the weather gets hot, I stop planting annuals, perennials, and woody plants. It’s difficult to establish new plants in hot weather. However, with all this rain, you might consider some new planting or transplanting in the coming week.

Remember that June showers bring summer flowers! Have a good weekend.

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