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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of May 6, 2019
  • If planting strawberries is on your to-do list this season, remember not to plant strawberries too deep nor too shallow.  The crown should be at ground level.  If you make a mistake and bury the crown in the soil, the plant will smother whereas if it extends too high above the soil, the plant will dry out.  In either case, the plant will die.
  • When mowing the lawn, do not use a string trimmer near specimen plants.  If the trimmer comes in contact with the bark, it will cause a wound by removing the bark or girdling the tree.  This type of wound can be life-threatening to a plant.
  • Now is a great time to plant early-season varieties of potatoes.  Cut the seed potatoes into sections with each section containing at least one bud or sometimes referred to as “eyes”.  The stems of the potatoes will grow from these buds.  Dig a trench approximately 5”-6” deep.  Place a 1” layer of compost on the bottom of the trench and set the potato sections into the compost with 10” in-between each one.  Cover with soil.  Space each row 2’ apart.  Wait until the last frost to plant the late-season varieties of potatoes.
  • Drawing a host of pollinators with its deep purple flowers on long branches in the fall is ironweed hybrid Veronica ‘Summer Swan Song’.  Growing 3’ tall, it is hardy in zones 4-9.
  • A recipe for a “Shaker Omelette” – add 1 tablespoon parsley and chives to an egg mixture.  Before turning, sprinkle 6 washed chive blossoms over the omelet.  Recipe found in The Forgotten Art of Growing, Gardening and Cooking with Herbs by Richard M. Bacon.
  • Clematis will thrive with regular watering throughout the growing season particularly during dry spells.  Fertilize the plants once per month with a general all-purpose liquid fertilizer to increase their vitality.  To encourage flowering, use a high-potash tomato fertilizer in place of the all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
  • Attracting many different types of bees, sneezeweed (Helenium spp.) will thrive in swampy conditions.  Full sun with average to wet soil conditions, sneezeweed will bloom bright yellow or orange flowers from summer to autumn.  Growing up to 5’ tall, it is hardy in zones 3-9.

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