Now is the time to enjoy your garden after all the work you put in and its starting to show. The vegetable gardens are starting to produce and we have some gorgeous home-grown goodies to eat. The flowers are starting to bloom and we have a beautiful view outside. Now is the time to be spending as much of your spare time as possible outside with barbecues, family time, and a good bit of relaxation.
Keep up with removing the faded flowers and flower heads from all of your bedding plants. By deadheading you will encourage the plants to produce more blooms and extend the season of color.
Water your whole garden thoroughly twice a week and more in very hot weather. Water at the base of plants, rather than the foliage, making a pool around individual plants will make sure that the water goes directly to the root, where it is needed.
Herbs are perfect to freeze; this will ensure that you have plenty to use throughout the year. If, when chopping your herbs, you find you are left with some leftover, a little trick is to pop them in an ice cube tray with water and freeze them into herb-ice cubes.
Keep an eye out for pests on your plants – it’s always best to spot them early and treat them right away. Thanks to insecticidal soap, controlling soft-bodied insects in the garden and on houseplants has never been easier! You can pick up this product at any garden center or you can make your own.
The recipe for homemade insecticidal soap requires only three ingredients: Dawn dish soap, vegetable oil and soft water. Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of the Dawn dish soap and 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with 1 gallon of warm soft water. The Dawn dish soap must not contain bleach, which could harm the plants. Furthermore, you should always use soft water when diluting pesticides. Hard water contains minerals, which interfere with the insecticidal soap, reducing its effectiveness.
To apply the homemade insecticidal soap, spray the infested plant; undersides and tops of leaves, stems, buds and blooms, thoroughly with the solution. For easier application of the homemade pesticide, transfer the solution to a clean spray bottle or garden sprayer after mixing the ingredients together. Repeat the treatment at 7- to 14-day intervals until you have controlled the soft-bodied, sap-sucking pests.
Never apply insecticidal soap to plants with hairy or waxy leaves, or when temperatures are above 90 degrees. When treating outdoor plants do so on a calm day to help prevent wind drifts and on a day when no rain is expected for 24 hours after the application.
The most important of all the jobs on your to-do list this month; set aside some time to enjoy your garden and take in how lovely it looks!
Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.