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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of July 8, 2019
  • Crush one cup of peppermint, spearmint or other mint.  Place in a clean, half-gallon container.  Fill with fresh, cool water.  Chill in the refrigerator.  Strain if you’d like.  Serve over ice.  Enjoy!
  • A magnet for attracting honey and bumble bees is the basswood tree (Tilia Americana).  A common shade tree, basswood is an important nectar source for bees and a must for every beekeeper.  The honey produced is pale, yet very richly flavored.  Some have said that the honey produced has a bit of a peppermint flavor.  New plantings should have plenty of rich soil and sunshine for good flower and nectar production.  Producing white flowers in the early summer, basswood trees will grow to a mature height of 80’ and are hardy in zones 3-8.
  • If you are growing strawberries, be aware of strawberry bud weevils being a potentially, serious problem.  They will lay their eggs in a bud cluster, partly severing it from the plant.
  • Berries with a hint of a spicy flavor are jersey blueberries.  A heavy producer and a favorite among bakers, blueberries form on an upright bush and the plant produces bright yellow autumn foliage.  The stems in the winter months have a yellowish appearance as well.  Fruit ripens from mid-August until frost.  If the temperatures are too high, the sweetness of the fruit will diminish.  Jersey blueberries are hardy to zone 4-7.
  • Applying a nitrogen-rich fertilizer or a separate nitrogen supplement under the mulch when performing landscape maintenance will help with the natural nitrogen deficiency caused by the decomposing of the mulch.
  • Harvest green peppers just as soon as you have a use for them.  They do not store well.  If left on the vine, they will turn red like a hot pepper yet they will retain their mild flavor.
  • Harvest eggplant when they reach 4” long and still have a shiny skin.
  • Harvest garlic when the top 4”-6” of the leaves begin to turn brown.  Hang them to dry in a cool, well ventilated area.
  • Inspect herbs for signs of the four-lined plant bug.  The adult insect has four black stripes down its yellow or green body.  The nymph stage of the insect is reddish orange.  If the populations are high, damage to the herbs in the form of small, round, sunken spots on leaves can be severe.  Covering the plants with row covers will help.

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