The season has arrived when homeowners and renters alike put forth their best efforts to keep lawns and gardens looking beautiful. Here’s what every aspiring gardener should know when it comes to putting their best on display.
• For landscape plants, water deeply at least monthly. Any plants that are sensitive to frost should be pruned after leafing out with spring’s new growth. Mulch around the base of plants will help to preserve moisture and reduce weeds throughout the summer. All weeds should be removed while still young, as roots are much more manageable then.
• Prepare garden soil for herbs by adding 2 to 4 inches of compost or mulch to the planting area. Stick to the directions on the package and thoroughly mix materials into the soil and water deeply. Water herbs such as basil, garlic chives, sesame, and sage every 5 to 7 days.
• Fruit and vegetable varieties that work well through the summer are beans, carrots, melons, pumpkins, and summer squash. Put a shade cloth of about 50% over tomatoes, which will work to prevent leafhopper insects and curly-top virus. More than 150 plant types, many found in the southwest, are affected by the curly-top virus, which stunts and kills vegetables.
• Plant potted-roses and give them soil that is well-drained and well-amended. Dig an 18-inch deep hole that is from 18 to 30 inches wide. Add to the hole a cup each of rock phosphate, soil sulfur, gypsum and ½ cup of bone meal. Mix in two shovels of soil and shape into a cone. Remove the container and plant the rose taking care not to disturb the root.
And no list is complete without a few Don’ts:
• Don’t repeatedly plant the same vegetable in the same place, year after year, as this makes them more vulnerable to disease and pest populations.
• Don’t overwater turf, which can increase the potential of fungal disease—as does watering at night, over-fertilizing, and mowing when wet.
• Finally, don’t use pre-emergent pesticides where you plan to plant seeds.