Monthly task lists help to grow and maintain your gardens, indoors and out.
Scan these tips from gardening expert, Melinda Myers, and follow those that apply to your particular landscape to help increase your success while making gardening easier, less stressful and fun.
• Birds, chipmunks and squirrels often pull out, nest in or dig up potted plants. Discourage them with repellents or by temporarily covering potted plants with bird netting.
• Thin rows of seeded vegetables. Reduce seedlings to recommended spacing. Recycle the seedlings in the compost pile or try adding some of the edible ones, such as radishes and beets to salads and sandwiches.
• Use large tropical plants as accents in your flowerbeds. Leave the plants in their original container and sink the pot into the garden. This makes it easier on you and the plant. The surrounding soil will insulate the pot and you’ll need to water the pot less than if it were above ground.
• Continue to fertilize indoor houseplants as needed. Those growing indoors for the summer will benefit from regular fertilization. Apply a diluted solution of any houseplant fertilizer once or twice a month. Use a flowering plant fertilizer, one higher in phosphorus, for flowering houseplants.
• Turf damaging grubs are the immature larvae of several different beetles. They feed on grass roots, causing the turf to be uniformly thin, droughty or dead. Treat only if 3 or 4 grubs are found per every 1 square foot of turf sampled.
• Start a wish list of new plants for future gardens. Add to this throughout the season. Record the name, bloom time, size, hardiness and other features of the plant. This will help when planning new additions.
• Thin garden phlox and other overgrown perennials subject to powdery mildew and leaf spot diseases. Remove one third of the stems.
• Cool, wet springs mean lots of diseases. Remove spotted, blotchy or discolored leaves as soon as they are found. Sanitation is the best control for disease problems.
• Watch for leafhoppers, aphids and mites. These insects suck plant juices, causing leaves to yellow, brown and die. Control small populations with a strong blast of water from the garden hose. Larger populations can be controlled with insecticidal soap or Neem. Read and follow all label directions before applications.
• Consider removing the grass around your trees and shrubs and creating perennial or groundcover beds. Grass is a big competitor with trees and shrubs for water and nutrients. Weed whips and mowers used to cut grass often damage to these plants. Reduce maintenance and improve the health of your trees and shrubs by mulching around them.
• Take a walk around the yard. Look for bare or drab areas that would benefit from a little annual color. Use annuals to mask declining spring bulbs and early blooming perennials. Consider adding a pot of annuals to the patio, deck or entranceway. You will be amazed at the difference a few plants can make.
• Reduce transplant shock by planting in early morning or late afternoon. Proper planting and post-planting care will help the transplants adjust to their new location.
• Dig and divide overgrown Siberian iris after they finish blooming. Keep the soil around the transplants moist, but not wet. It may take divisions more than a year to recover and bloom.
• Stake tall bearded iris, dahlias and gladiola for a more attractive display. Stake dahlias and gladiola at time of planting to avoid spearing or disturbing the tuberous roots or corms.
• Deadhead faded flowers to improve the appearance and reduce disease problems.
• Harvest strawberries every other day to ensure quality and reduce the number of overripe berries on the plants. Overripe berries attract insects and increase the risk of disease.
• Cover broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts with a floating row cover to prevent cabbage worms from reaching and feeding on the plants. Or apply the environmentally friendly Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki to control cabbage worms. This bacteria kills only true caterpillars and is safe for people, pets and wildlife.
• Dogs often cause brown spots of dead grass in the lawn. Their nitrogen-rich urine acts just like fertilizer burn. The treatment is the same. Thoroughly water the area to dilute the urine and wash it through the soil. It may not be practical, but it is effective. Some gardeners have trained their dogs to go in a specific area. They may have several mulched areas for this purpose.
• By early June there should be no doubt about winter survival of your roses. Remove dead and struggling plants. Select an appropriate replacement that may or may not be another rose. If roses keep dying in this location, it may be time to find another place for your roses.
• Check all plantings for signs of Japanese beetles. These small, metallic-green insects emerge in mid to late June and feed on the flowers and leaves of over 300 different types of plants.
Written by gardening expert, Melinda Myers. Melinda Myers is a nationally recognized gardening expert with more than 30 years of horticulture experience. She is a wealth of knowledge and we are pleased to share Melinda’s monthly gardening tips with you!