Grow Massachusetts!

This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of June 12, 2017

“He who would have beautiful roses in his garden must have beautiful roses in his heart.”  Samuel Reynolds Hole, rosarian, 1869

We all love surprises!  A surprise visit, a phone call or a special treat makes us happy.  Make your roses happy this month by giving them a surprise treat in the form of manure tea.  Manure tea is simply a mixture of water and composted manure.  The mixture should resemble iced tea not being too dark nor too light.  Mix as much as you would need for as many roses as you have.  Each rose would love to receive one gallon.  Let the tea steep for a week or so and then pour it on each plant slowly so as not to erode the soil at the base of the plant.  This method will also allow the plant to better absorb the tea and take up the nutrients.   Roses love to eat and are heavy feeders.  Keeping the plant strong and healthy with appropriately timed feedings helps them to ward off insects and disease.   You will be pleasantly surprised, and your heart happy, with the beautiful roses in your garden!

  • Design a hummingbird habitat to encourage those little hummers.  Avoid using pesticides, hang a sugar-water feeder and plant a beautiful rose of sharon, cardinal flower or bee balm to entice them to stop by.   If there isn’t room in the garden, consider filling a container with these nectar-rich blooms.
  • Keep your lawn mower blades sharpened.  You will use less gasoline, the grass plant will retain more moisture and you reduce the risk of turf disease.
  • When choosing a favorite spot to plant your herbs, keep them close to the kitchen.  You’ll tend to use them more often if they are easily accessible.
  • Harvest garlic scapes as they begin to curl.  Adding them to dishes that would benefit from a touch of garlic flavor is a wonderful use.  There are also great recipes for scape pesto …. My uncle sent some over last summer.  It was a huge hit!
  • Peonies are opening and are beautiful right now!  Grab your pruners and fill your home, and your neighbors, with these lush, fragrant blooms.
  • Make weeding a priority in the vegetable garden.  Many weeds are already setting seed and it is critical to get those out of the garden before the seeds are dispersed.  While you are weeding, consider cultivating the soil at the same time.  Cultivating relieves compaction created from rainfall and foot traffic.  Reducing compaction allows for better movement of air in the soil.  Oxygen in air is essential for plant root development as well as the survival of many organisms that live in the soil.  These organisms contribute to the health and fertility of the soil.  Rain is better able to penetrate the soil of a well-cultivated garden.

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