No Holiday From Gardening
Saturday, August 1, 2015 @ 3:45 AM
It may be the long weekend, but there are plenty of things to do in the garden. Here is an early August chore list:
- Roses will produce more blooms if the finished flowers are removed before they get a chance to form seed which is contained in the rose hips. The rose hips will take energy from the plant that would otherwise be used to produce new blooms. When removing the finished flowers snip off the entire cluster. To get the rose bush ready for winter, stop deadheading mid to late August so that the rose hips can form, signalling to the rose to slow down its growth. The last fertilizer application should be no later than mid-August as you want the roses growth to slow down before winter. As you are deadheading, check the plant for any disease or pests so that they can be treated early. Common things to watch for are aphids, mites, spittlebugs and mildew.
- Hanging baskets and containers have had many weeks to grow, and are looking great. Keep them looking beautiful by fertilizing weekly with 12-36-12 a water soluble flowering plant fertilizer. The 36 (middle number) is the percentage of phosphorous, which helps in root and flower development. Water daily and sometimes twice a day on those hot dry days. Remove all finished flowers before they set seed as well as any damaged, or diseased foliage and stems to prevent rot and further damage.
- Perennials that have finished blooming can be deadheaded. Deadheading will keep them attractive looking and healthy and in some cases will extend the bloom time or produce a second flush of blooms.
- Apple trees that are heavy with fruit may need to be thinned out. Thin out the fruit to one or two of the healthiest apples per cluster spaced 15-20 cm apart. This will allow for bigger apples, less weight on the branches thus preventing the branch from breaking due to the weight, and a fruit crop next season.
- Deciduous trees often produce suckers at the base of the tree. As the name applies, the suckers sap energy away from the tree, as well as making the tree less attractive. Break off the suckers at ground level as soon as they appear.
- If you haven’t fertilized the lawn in the past few weeks, fertilize it now or in the next couple of weeks (before mid-August) with a good quality lawn fertilizer such as 24-4-16. The high percentage of nitrogen which is the first number, will green it up. Lawns can be fertilized in the fall, but use a fall fertilizer such as 6-3-12, which will help it through the winter.
- Vegetable gardens are in full production right now. Go through them daily and harvest produce at its peak when they are full of flavour. For example, it does not take very long for a harvest ready broccoli to go past its prime. Harvest broccoli when the tiny buds are dense, and tightly closed. If you see the flowerets open and show yellow, you have waited too long.
- Keep up on the weeding. A weed pulled before it forms seeds, will save the gardener time in the long run. Some weed seeds can be viable for many years in the soil! Weeds compete with the wanted plants for nutrients and water as well as harbour pests and disease.
- Enjoy the outdoors! Have a great long weekend!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 west at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road