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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of June 3, 2019
  • Thin root crops including carrots, beets, parsnips and onions that were directly seeded by removing unwanted seedlings at soil level.  This can be done using scissors.  Leave approximately 2” in between seedlings when thinning is completed.
  • Begin harvesting rhubarb.  Grab a stem near the base of the plant and gently pull it off.  Do not use the leaf.  Only use the stalk.
  • If a flower stem appears on a rhubarb plant, remove it.  A flower may mean that the plant is in need of dividing, which you would do early next spring, or perhaps a soil amendment of manure of compost would be helpful.
  • A wonderful shrub that is adaptable to a variety of conditions including wet or dry soils, sun or part shade is Low Scape Mound chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa).  Blooming with small, white flowers in the spring, it attracts an assortment of pollinators.  Growing only one to two feet tall and wide, it is suitable as a groundcover, border planting or even in containers.  With glossy, green leaves that turn bright red in the fall, low scape mound chokeberry provides a beautiful contrast to the purple-black fruit which birds love.  It is hardy in zones 3-8.
  • To make a delicious herb cheese, mix 2 tablespoons of minced pineapple and 1 tablespoon of mint with 8 ounces of cream cheese.  Enjoy!
  • Clematis are a bit difficult to transplant because their thin, fibrous roots can become easily damaged.  If you must transplant a clematis, do so when the plants are dormant.
  • Protect potato plants from potato beetles with the use of row covers.
  • Pinch off side buds of peonies to encourage larger blooms.
  • Move houseplants outdoors now for the summer months.  Start them off in a shady spot before moving them into the sun.
  • A day before transplanting houseplants, water the soil thoroughly.  This will reduce transplant shock.
  • To enjoy blueberries through the month of September, opt for Aurora.  Producing moderately large, powder-blue berries, aurora surpasses other fall-bearing blueberries hands down!  Growing on a rounded, upright bush, it spreads 5’-6’.  Aurora is hardy to zone 5.

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