Grow Massachusetts!

This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of July 17, 2017

Have you been admiring those blueberries in your neighbor’s landscape?  Would you like some to enjoy at your home?  Growing blueberries is easy.  As long as you provide the correct soil pH (blueberries like 4.5 – 5.5), full sun or part shade, mulch around the roots to retain moisture and provide acidic, well-drained soil, they will be very happy.  Prune when fruiting is complete.  Blueberry plants can be easily integrated and blend well into the shrub border or a small garden plot.  Only two or three plants are needed to provide several quarts of blueberries.  If you forget to pick them, the birds will be very pleased.  Visit your favorite garden center and look for ‘Bluecrop’, ‘Bluejay’, Earliblue’, or ‘Jersey’.  Mixing up your selections will produce fruit from early, mid and late season.  There are also low-bush varieties that make excellent ground cover choices.  Blueberry pie anyone?

  • Deadhead (remove spent blossoms) on annuals and perennials to encourage flowering and neaten the plant.
  • If you have an invasive honeysuckle within your landscape, consider replacing it with a native alternative such as Winterberry or Spicebush.
  • Be prepared for a beautiful flowering display during the month of August by planting anemone, monkshood, turtlehead and liatris into your landscape.  Visit your favorite garden center for the best selections.
  • Avoid using soap as a deer deterrent in your landscape.  As soap washes down the branches and trunks of trees and shrubs, it attracts rodents to chew on the bark.  To prevent rodent damage, use a rodent deterrent at the same time.
  • Harvest zucchini and summer squash when they are only 3” – 4” in size and while the blossoms are still attached.  Their flavor will be superior to their older, much larger “siblings”.   Harvesting at this time also encourages the plants to keep producing more fruit.
  • Keep strawberry plants well-watered (once a week) if the weather is dry.
  • Apply nitrogen fertilizer to onions, garlic and shallots.
  • Brighten up a shady spot with a container filled with Baby Wing Pink Begonias, Fiesta White Impatiens, Rex Begonia and Caladium, ‘Candidum Classic’.  Beautiful!

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