This year, given our drought conditions, instead of planting thirsty annuals like petunias and impatients, why not plant drought resistant annuals along a border such as begonias, moss roses, euphorbia, complimented by taller annuals? Just visit your local nursery for suitable candidates, or check our pin board on Pinterest. You can still plant dahlias, caladiums and elephant ears. There’s also still time to plant annuals from seed, such as scarlet runner beans, gourds, nasturtiums, zinnias and cleome. Did you know that cleome, an old fashioned favorite making a return will grow to be 3-5 feet tall and is a great cut flower for arrangements? It blooms continuously until fall.
Among the tropicals, plant fragrant moonflowers (ipomoea alba-not datura) with other things in patio containers for evening enjoyment, being careful to note that these plants are poisonous. Many of these will be peaking in mid- to late-summer.
You may have noticed that many garden centers are not offering impatiens this year? This is due to a fungal disease called downy mildew. Infected Impatients plants can’t recover from the disease and spores remain in infected soil for years.
Vegetables and Fruit
You can still plant tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, peppers, pumpkins, melons, eggplants, squash, sweet corn and okra. When your peas, radishes and lettuce are finished this month, plant something else in that space.
Lettuce, arugula, spinach, chive blossoms, Johnny jump-ups for salads, spring onions, baby carrots, peas, strawberries, asparagus and radishes should be ready for harvest.
- Adjust your sprinkler times for the hotter temperatures and water your lawns early mornings or early evenings. It is preferable to water enough to wet the soil 4” to 6” down 2-3 times a week rather than a light sprinkling every day. Grass roots will grow deeper and the lawn will be healthier.
- The best times to fertilize tall fescue lawns are March, May, October and November. Fertilize sparingly or not at all during hot summer weather. The best times to fertilize Bermuda grass and Zoysia are April, May, September and October. Do not fertilize in winter when these grasses are dormant.
- Mow when the grass is dry. In the hot summer month don’t cut grass too short. Taller grass will shade the soil and help prevent water loss and weed seed germination. Cutting grass too short weakens the lawn and makes it more susceptible to pests and diseases. Cut tall fescue at 3” to 4”. Cut Bermuda grass at 3/4” to 11/2”. Cut Zoysia at 3/4” to 2”. Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades wound the grass and make it more vulnerable to pests and diseases.
- Alternate your mowing pattern frequently to avoid compacted ruts.