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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of July 2, 2018
  • Sow seeds of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli for a late-season harvest.
  • Apply a layer of straw mulch around vegetable crops.  The mulch will help to retain moisture in the soil and deter weed growth.  Avoid using hay as it has weed seeds.
  • Don’t apply mulch around herbs.  Herbs prefer it dry and if the soil is too moist, the stems of most herbs may begin to rot.
  • A beautiful, tropical-looking perennial flower with bright scarlet flowers in the summer is crocosmis ‘Lucifer’ (Montbretia).  This hardy plant is loved by hummingbirds and with its tall, sword-like foliage is a real show stopper in the garden.  It can reach up to 4’ tall and needs full sun and well-drained soil.  Considering either mulching this plant or digging up the corms in the fall for winter protection.  Hardy in zones 5-9.
  • To add a splash of white in the garden in the early-to-mid spring, consider adding Helleborus Sparkling Diamond (Hybrid Lenten Rose).  Sometimes found buried under the snow, they give gardeners the hope that spring is on its way.  With their long bloom time and beautiful thick, waxy, rose-like flowers, they are a must have.  Visit your favorite nursery or garden center and look for them in both single and double varieties.  They will tolerate dense shade but also sun.  Hardy in zones 5-9.
  • To keep your annuals blooming during the hot summer months, fertilize them every two to three weeks.  If you would like to boost blooming, look for a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous to promote flowers rather than leaf growth.
  • With all of the gardening tasks at hand in the summer, don’t forget to turn your compost pile. 
  • Spray garden phlox, roses and monardas with a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda to one gallon of water to prevent white powdery mildew on leaves.  Spray hollyhocks with sulfur to prevent rust spots on the leaves.
  • Although beautiful as a cut flower in a vase, Gerbera jamesonii (Transvaal Daisy) does not perform well in the garden.  If they are a favorite, plant them in a container and keep them protected from the adverse effects of the weather.  They will tolerate full sun to partial shade.

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