ShareThis Page

Evaluate the state of the garden

| Friday, Aug. 6, 2004

This is a good weekend to take a walk through the garden and evaluate how plants are growing and how they are producing. Did you plant too many of one type of plant and not enough of another?

Are the plants planted in a certain part of the garden not doing as well as others?

Could the soil, light or moisture be different in this area•

Did you plant some crops too early, and when it came time to pick them, you were out of town• If you had waited a week or two, your work would not have been wasted.

Jot a few notes about how these problems can be remedied for next season. Then, tack the note on the wall in the shed, garage or basement where you will see it as a reminder and problem solver.

While walking through the garden, be on the lookout for plants that might be heavily infested with insects or are showing a number of diseased leaves. These plants should be removed from the garden. Other plants that are mildly infested should be sprayed or dusted.

Keep in mind that some sprays have waiting periods before harvesting. Be sure to check the label. We have sprays that can be applied one day and harvested the next day. Any spray containing pyrethrins, insecticidal soaps, Rotenone and even Sevin -- on certain plants -- can be harvested the next day, if need be.

Spraying or dusting should be done in the early morning or late evening, if possible. At this time, insects are at rest on the plants and are more vulnerable to the insecticidal sprays.

To keep vegetables growing and toto restart those that are not doing well, fertilize with a granular, nitrogen fertilizer, such as urea or nitrate of soda. Most nitrogen fertilizers are water-soluble; therefore, they are easily leached out of the soil. For good plant growth, this leached-out nitrogen must be replaced.

When side dressing (sprinkling the fertilizer along the side of the plants) with a nitrogen fertilizer, it is better to spread it lightly and do it more often, such as once per week, than it is to use a lot at one time. Nitrogen can burn, and nitrogen also can cause foliage growth. Too much foliage growth on certain plants is not needed.

There still is time to plant vegetables from seed for fall harvest. The advantage of planting now is that the soil and air temperatures are ideal for growing, especially when we get into September. There is more moisture available, and temperatures are cooler.

Vegetables to start from seed now: peas, spinach, lettuce, endive, beans, carrots, turnips, Swiss chard and beets.

Continue deadheading (removing old flower heads) blooming plants. This will increase the production of new flowers and extend the blooming time of perennials.

Fertilize flowers now with a granular or liquid fertilizer. Flowers are in their full glory; so to keep them that way, keep them fertilized.

With the rain we have been having, continue treating moist areas for slugs and snails. Now is the time slugs and snails will be laying eggs for next spring. Treating at this time will helpcontrol the population next season.

Garden tip: Examine fruit trees and berry bushes for insects and disease. For insects that crawl up the trunk, apply a band of Tanglefoot. This will stop fall cankerworm, bagworms and ants. Remember, it is easier to prevent insects from damaging your trees and bushes rather than to treat them after they become established.

Send questions to Dave Vargo, Valley News Dispatch, 210 Fourth Ave., Tarentum PA 15084. Vargo has a degree in horticulture from Penn State University and owns Arnold Feed & Garden Center and Kiski Plaza Garden & Feed Center.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me