6/14/13: In the garden this week

Perennial promise in mid-June

Did it rain this week! We have received almost 12 inches of rain in the past 30 days, and my garden has never looked more lush. There’s beauty even in the perennials that are still just green and waiting to bloom. The cool spring allowed the plants to develop what promises to be an unusual number of summer flowers. The early flowers–penstemon, sundrops, a single red milkweed just about to open–merely hint at the color to come.

I am longing for a few days of sunshine to relax and enjoy the garden. That’s really all you should do this week, but here are some seasonal chores you might want to consider:

— keep the grass long (3″ or more) to reduce mowing times. There is no need to fertilize now, and there is CERTAINLY  no need to water.

— prune early flowering shrubs if you have not already done so; continue to remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees.

— pull out early spring greens, such as arugula and spinach, that have already gone to seed; pull up lettuce as it develops woody stalks; pull out pea plants after they finish producing; compost all these plants unless they are diseased

— continue to plant beans, kale, chard, and other members of the brassica clan as you have room; harvest peas, young squash, and beans before they get large and tough

— stake tomato plants firmly and remove all suckers throughout the growing season

— monitor the vegetable garden carefully for pests and diseases

— because the ground is so wet and the weather has not turned very hot, continue to transplant very hardy perennials as needed, but make sure to keep them well watered throughout the season. If the weather does get hot, stop transplanting

Happy Father’s Day! A note to dads–if you hate gardening chores, don’t do them this weekend!

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