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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 28, 2018
  • Planting moss is a low-maintenance option in the landscape.  Moss picks up its nutrients from dust particles in rainwater and in the air.  It doesn’t like or need fertilizing.  During the hot summer months, its watering needs are minimal.  Moss requires only about 5 minutes of watering a day to rehydrate.  Mowing is not required and weeding is only needed until it is well established.
  • Work the flavors of herbs onto meat, poultry and fish by rubbing them in with your hands prior to cooking.
  • Begin harvesting rhubarb.  To harvest rhubarb, grab a stem near the base and gently pull it off.  Cutting off the stem creates a wound which is an open invitation for disease.  Use only the stalk and not the leaves.  Try not to remove more than 1/3 of the stems on the plant.   If your rhubarb begins to flower, cut the flower off.  The flower is an indication that the rhubarb plant is in need of dividing, which should be done early the following spring.
  • Plant strawberries in soil that has been enriched with rotted manure or compost.  Make the planting holes wide enough for the roots to be able to spread out.  Set the plants just so that the crown of the plant is at ground level.  Space strawberry plants 2 feet apart in rows that are 4 feet apart.  Enjoy the harvest!
  • Water garlic through late July if rainfall is infrequent.  Garlic bulbs will be small if they are grown under dry conditions.  Apply a high nitrogen fertilizer to garlic bulbs when they are about 6” to 8” tall to help promote large bulb development.
  • Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’ (Pigsqueak) is an underused groundcover.  It thrives in full sun or part shade and provides year-round interest.  Its green leaves turn burgundy in the winter months.  In the spring, it blooms with beautiful rose-colored flowers.  It is hardy in zones 3-8.  Visit your favorite nursery/garden center for the best selection.
  • Pinch off side buds of peonies to encourage larger blooms.  Don’t worry about the harmless ants on the buds.

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