How Does Your Garden Grow?

It’s hard to believe that I am saying this, but we were really happy to be the recipients of an inch of rain over the week-end. Things were beginning to look like they needed a big drink of water!

Here are a few facts about watering your plants. A deep watering is more beneficial than a light one; moisture that penetrates the soil thoroughly helps the growth of roots buried deep in the ground. Watering lightly encourages the growth of roots at the top of the soil, where they experience acute stress during a drought. Watering early in the day allows the sun to dry the leaves of your plants, to help ward off the growth of fungal disease like black spot or powdery mildew on foliage. Avoid watering a midday when the sun is most intense, since a good portion of the water will evaporate before it can help the plant. Margaret Roach (one of my favorite garden authors) says, “Don’t spritz things now and again like you are washing the car!”

A lot of gardeners are just now starting to get their beds cleaned out to get ready for mulch. As you mulch your landscape this year, remember that mulch should never be placed against tree trunks. This practice promotes rot and disease. If you mulch around the base of a tree, make sure the mulch is no more than ½ inch thick near the base of the trunk. If your tree looks like it is coming out of a “volcano” of mulch, be sure to bring that mulch away from the trunk!

Mulching depth, depending on the material selected, is 2 to 2.5 inches. Mulching depths less than two inches may not satisfy the principal objectives. However, mulch applied 3 to 6 inches or more, still recommended by some, can lead to serious problems for landscape plants. A mulch that is too thick may severely reduce or eliminate drying and lead to water-logged soil, particularly during wet seasons or in heavy clay loam soils. Extended periods of wet soils in spring are most damaging to a number of perennials, azalea, rhododendron, conifers in general, and taxus or yew in particular.

How is your garden growing? I finally got all the tomato plants in the ground, the zucchini and summer squash are up, the cucumbers are

looking pretty good considering how hot it has been, and the deer have discovered my sunflowers (that the chipmunks planted for me) in the middle of my tomato patch. Thank goodness the tomato cages were already in place! The herbs on the deck are growing well and the sunflowers in my hanging basket require daily watering. The chipmunks planted them and I am going to let them bloom and then plant my usual Moss Rose there.

Do you love vegetable soup as much as I do? It’s not too late to plant a “soup garden”. Blogger, Margaret Roach, chops her veggies and freezes them in quart bags so she can enjoy vegetable soup all winter long. Her list of vegetables in her “soup garden” includes: garlic, onions, carrots, kale, or chard, or collards, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, shell beans, green beans, tomatoes, parsley, and maybe some snap peas. My additions to the list would be zucchini and okra. I have fond memories of my Grandmother canning a vegetable medley that she would use in the winter for soup.

The strawberry freezer jam is finished, all 60 jars! Why so many? They are Christmas presents to our son and his family and make great gifts to friends! The trick is finding enough room in the freezer for them.

It’s time to start checking your tomato plants for any diseases. Remember that it is important to know what the problem is before you try to treat it!