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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of August 13, 2018
  • Weeding when the weather is hot and sunny will discourage weed seed germination.  Seeds are less likely to germinate in dry soil and the weeds will wither quickly.
  • Continue watering container gardens on a regular basis.  Vegetables planted in larger containers are better able to handle the drying effects of the sun and wind than those planted in smaller containers.  When watering, be sure to saturate the soil and consider watering more than once again to prevent the plants from wilting.
  • Harvest pickling cucumbers when they are 2” – 6” long.  Harvesting more frequently encourages more flowering and more fruit.
  • Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra ‘Bleeding Hearts’ is a beautiful perennial sunflower without a hint of yellow in the flowers.  Blooming in the late summer and into the fall, the flowers on ‘Bleeding Hearts’ change from a scarlet or orange-red and then bronze.  Thrives in full sun and invites pollinators to the garden.  Excellent cut flower.  Hardy in zones 3-9.
  • Add to the peony garden this fall with Paeonia (Intersectional Hybrid) Misaka Beautiful Blossom Itoh peony.  The flowers on this plant are 8” – 9” across.  They begin an amber-orange color and mature to a peachy yellow contrasting with the dark red center.  Itoh peonies prefer dappled shade and the soil should be a bit moist.  They do take time to mature.  Some gardeners suggest a few years.  They are worth the wait, however, with more and more flowers being produced each season.  A five-to-six year old plant can be bursting with 50-75 buds and blooms all being supported on thick stems.  Hardy in zones 4-8.
  • Continue watering hanging baskets.  They may require watering twice a day, in the morning and again in the evening, in very hot weather.
  • To minimize black spot on roses, water roses early in the day and try not to get their leaves wet.
  • Sow seeds of beets, chard, spinach and lettuce for a fall harvest.
  • To make herbed butter, combine 1 tablespoon of minced, fresh herbs with ½ cup softened, sweet butter.  Wrap the mixture in plastic and store it in the refrigerator for one month or in the freezer for three months.  Use the butter on warm biscuits or toast, steamed vegetables or fish.

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