A gentle shower of water on those hot days of summer!

Freddie "Palisades Park" Cannon HQ Sound

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Summer to do list in the vegetables garden

It is summer and the vegetable gardens are wonderful, so how do we keep them that way until the fall? Here are a few simple things to do to keep your garden productive right to the end.

If you planted peas this spring they'll probably be finished producing around the end of the month, but you'll still have time to plant a new crop though early August. Peas will take from 60 to 90 days to mature; they are cold tolerant and should mature for you during September to mid-October, so get the new crop in the ground in time. Leaf lettuce and spinach will also mature for a great fall crop of fresh greens if planted around the beginning of August. Radishes come up quickly, so keep planting as they mature--about every 30 days.

Broccoli will make small 1 to 2 inch florets of flowers that will keep coming until frost if you clean the plant of yellow leaves and fertilize every 2 weeks with Neptunes Harvest. I pick the florets every couple of days and store in a poly storage bag in the refrigerator until I have enough to cook or use in a salad. Feed them regularly, pick often and the plant will continue to produce for you.

Brussels sprouts will get bigger with the heat and moisture of summer. As they grow, remove some of the lower leaves to make space for them to mature. Pick in September when the weather gets cooler for better taste--but the best tasting sprouts will come after a frost. Do not pull the plant out of the ground in the fall, as you can pick sprouts in Southern New England until Christmas--and I did when I lived on the South Shore of Boston. Fertilize them now if you haven't in the last 30 days with Espoma organic grow. If your plants are getting tall, you may have to stake them to keep the sprouts off the ground and clean.

Peppers love the heat, so keep feeding them now; the heat of summer is the most productive time for them. When the fruit matures, harvest it so the plant can keep making more fruit. Eggplants also love the heat so keep them well watered and feed for mature fruit earlier and a second crop in the fall.

Summer and zucchini squash will keep producing until first frost, as long as they have enough water and are fertilized regularly. Pick the squashes when they are small so seeds do not have a chance to mature and the plant will keep making more for you. Keep the plant clean and remove yellow leaves as they begin to go by. Use a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks on the foliage of the plant as well as soaking the soil at the base of the plant to keep the roots strong. If leaves begin to turn powdery white, spray foliage with Serenade organic fungicide to control powdery mildew and keep plant productive.

Vine squash like butternut, blue hubbard, acorn and other winter squashes will continue to make fruit well into September if you can water and fertilize regularly. Watch for powdery mildew and the possibility of deer or woodchucks moving into the garden for a feed. If they begin to show signs of feeding, create a barrier protection with Everguard deer and rabbit repellent.

Tomatoes will begin to mature this month and next, so you can make your famous spaghetti sauce, salsa, piccalilli and relishes. Keep the plants healthy by watering regularly in the morning (when possible) and fertilizing every 2 weeks with Espoma organic grow. Remove the yellow leaves, and, if needed, use Serenade organic fungicide to keep foliage green and productive.

Around the beginning of August, you should cut back your tomato your plants a bit. I prune the tomato plant to the last fruit made by the plant; this sends all the energy made by the plant to the maturing fruit and helps mature larger fruit faster. I only remove about a foot of the new growth so the plant can concentrate on maturing the existing fruit, stop getting larger and stop making new flower buds that will not have time to mature. Fertilizing them with Espoma organic grow 2 weeks will speed maturing fruit.

If you have a large freezer, did you know that you can freeze whole red tomatoes in the fall and thaw them during the winter for great tomato soups? Freeze washed tomatoes in freezer bags to prevent freezer burn. Thaw the night before, dip in boiling water to help remove skins and you're ready for a great base for tomato or vegetable soup.

Cucumbers will stay productive longer if you keep feeding and watering the plants. When cucumbers start to look like a baby's bottle with a nipple on the end of the cucumber, it means your watering is not regular enough and the plants are running out of energy, so feed them every 2 weeks now with  Espoma organic grow. Spray the foliage of the plant as well as the soil because  Espoma organic grow-can be absorbed through the foliage as well as through the roots. When your plants stop producing, it means you are back to waxed cucumbers until next June, so do not give up too soon.
Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett - It's Five O' Clock Somewhere
Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett - It's Five O' Clock Somewhere

Blossom end rot on tomatoes

The tomato plant is the number one vegetable grown in the home garden and there is nothing more frustrating than watching your tomatoes develop and then find that the bottom of that tomato is all black and rotten. It usually happens to the first tomato to ripen in your garden and that is the one tomato we really wanted to pick and eat...just devastating. What's worst, we never saw this rot until the tomato began to ripen, because it develops on the bottom of the tomato and the top and sides look perfect.

Blossom-end rot is a plant disorder, not a fungus problem treatable with a fungicide. The rot develops at the base of the flower where it was attached to the young tomato. In its early stage it is unnoticeable unless you look real close to the tomato for a soft depression or soft water-soaked spot. It can happen at any time during the growth of the tomato, but in most case it begins to develop quickly when the tomato is one- third to one-half full matured. The spot will enlarge quickly as the fruit matures and it will usually cover as much as one-third to half of the bottom of the tomato. This spot will eventually dry up creating a leathery looking, black flattened bottom on the tomato.

The good news is that this plant disorder will not spread from plant to plant, nor from tomato to tomato on the same plant. The environment is the cause of the problem and this is easily corrected. The first problem causing blossom-end rot is moisture to the plant, and that is why it is most frequently found on container grown tomatoes, it is caused by uneven watering practices in your garden. When your tomatoes are growing fast, especially in the spring and you forget to water or in the case of the containers, they are too small for the plant, the roots will dry up and the plant will go into a stress condition. Tomatoes need one inch of water EVERY week to prevent this from happening. During hot weather, water your container grown tomatoes every morning!!!

The second problem is the lack of calcium in your soil. Calcium is needed to grow a mature fruit on the tomato plant. Acid soils are a common cause to this problem and adding limestone each fall to the garden will prevent this from happening. Bonide turf turbo or wood ash will help fix the soil pH faster in the spring. A soil test should read 6.5 to 7.0 PH to prevent this problem. Also adding Garden Gypsum soil conditioner will help prevent calcium deficient soils.

The next problem is cultivating to close to the plant and hurting the root system, so it cannot move the amount of water needed up to the plant as it is growing. If weeds are a problem, use mulch or straw around the plant and keep the garden hoe away! Landscape fabric is wonderful also and that is what I use to control weeds and warm up the soil ahead of the season, giving my plants a jump on the season with a nice warm soil.

Also over-feeding the plant early during the season can cause this problem making the plant grow too quickly. If you grow your own plants, be sure to harden them off properly by bring them out of a warm house to the cooler outside during the day and then back inside at night for several days to prepare the plant for the change of environment.

If you see infected fruit, remove it from the plant as soon as possible so the plants energy is sent to good healthy fruit and not to damaged tomatoes. Bonide  has developed a special fertilizer for tomatoes that will eliminate this problem in your garden and especially in container grown tomatoes, called "rot-stop." It is available at most good garden centers. If you have this problem on your plants now, be sure to apply this special product around your tomatoes and the problem will be solved.

Blossom end rot will also happen to all types of peppers, summer-type squash and eggplant. Peppers have black rotten holes on the side and at the bottom of the fruit. Squash and eggplant will begin to shrivel just below the flower and quickly resemble a chewed up cigar as they rots and fall over on the planta. Use the same method to control the problem. If you do not try to change these problems you could lose up to 50% of your vegetables on these plants this summer, so do not put it off any longer--especially with all this heat.
The Beach Boys ~ Surfin' USA
The Beach Boys ~ Surfin' USA

Powdery Mildew disease 

WARNING! With the heat and humidity in the days to come, PLEASE keep a close eye on your garden for a "fungus among us," called powdery mildew. This is our worst fungus during the summer months, and it will move quickly on many plants in your yard and garden. Powdery mildew will begin as a white dust like covering on the leaves of your plants, especially if you water your garden with overhead sprinklers--and especially if you do it late in the day. As powdery mildew spreads on your plant, it will block the sunlight from your foliage and the leaves will turn brown and black quickly dying. As the foliage dies, the plant is prevented from making fruit and flowers on the plant and your garden will quickly come to an end for the year.

Perennials will survive and so will shrubs and trees, but this is the time of the year that these plants are flowering and also the time when they make the flower buds for next year; without leaves, there will be no flowers on your plants next year. Fortunately this fungus is easily controlled if you prepare and act now. Note: annual flowers and vegetables in your garden only get one chance to produce but if this fungus attacks the plant they will slowly die and so will the dream of fresh vegetables and beautiful cut flowers.

Don't panic because now is the time to prevent this from happening and if you watch you watering practices and treat these plant everything will be all right. Here are the most likely plants to have a problem. Annuals include zinnias, impatiens, balsam, lobelia, bachelor buttons, and sunflowers. Perennials include bee balm, tall phlox, hollyhocks, delphinium, peonies, and Japanese lanterns. Vegetables include cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, and peas. Shrubs include Exbury azaleas, lilacs, spirea, pyracantha, hydrangea, and shrub dogwoods. Trees include flowering crabapples, dogwood, mountain ash, and one last plant, the rose bushes. Treat them with a good fungicide such as: Bio-Safe organic disease control, copper fungicide, sulfur fungicide, or Fung-Onil.

Your perennials are growing like crazy right now, and if you can deadhead the faded flowers from the plant, many of your perennials will bloom again in just a few weeks. Some will continue to bloom right through the summer months if you remove the faded flowers so the plant cannot make seeds. Pick off the faded flowers from your hosta so the energy is sent to the foliage, making the plant larger and more colorful. Pick off the stems and seed pods from your daylilies so the seeds in the pods do not produce wild seeds or you will lose your hybrids with their wonderful colors and your plants will all turn orange like the wild plants.

If you keep cutting your daisy flowers like black-eyed Susans and coreopsis, they will become bushier; if you do not, they will reseed all over your garden and take over. You can allow the seed heads to dry up and ripen on the plant and then crush the pods to release the seeds and spread them over open fields or along the side of the road for your own wildflower garden.

Your lawn will need one inch of water per week to keep it green during these hot days. Water first thing in the morning before it gets hot out, and water less often but apply more water when you water. This will encourage the roots to chase the water down into the soil and not encourage them to grow up to the water and dry out faster. Raise the level of the lawn mower blade to the highest spot to keep the grass tall, because tall grass does not dry up as fast as short grass in your lawn--and mow your lawn less often if it gets hot and dry to keep it green and healthy.

Your vegetables are beginning to ripen quickly now, so pick in the garden often and when the vegetable is young and tender. Young vegetables like peas, beans, squash, cucumbers, and lettuce will taste much sweeter and any seeds in the vegetable will be smaller, making them easier for you to digest. Remove any overgrown vegetables as soon as you see them or your plants will stop producing because they are making seeds on the plant; great for the compost pile.

Go to your local garden center this week and pick up packets of vegetable seeds for a fall crop, because the seed companies will be collecting the seed packets for the end of the year. Seeds like bush beans, peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach and radishes can be planted next month for wonderful fall vegetables. If you want fall kale, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, you need to start those seedlings NOW and transplant in the garden in mid-August for October vegetables. Ask your garden center when their garlic sets are going to arrive, so you can plant them in your garden in the late summer for bigger garlic bulbs next summer.

Now that the heat is here, it is the best time of the year and most effective time to KILL poison ivy and poison oak growing around your home--again the best time! Use Kleen-Up or Bio Safe Organic  weed control, on a nice day with temperatures 80 degrees or higher; apply early in the day for the best results so it can dry slowly on the foliage of the plant. Make sure there will be no showers in the forecast for at least 3 to 4 hours after you apply the product for the best results.

When it gets hot out and temperatures are expected to get higher than 85 degrees during the day, NEVER use and pesticides or fungicides on your garden or the bright sun will burn the foliage of your plants and in some case kill them! If you have a problem and you must spray your plants, be sure to apply the product early in the morning, before 9:00 am, so the sun can dry the foliage early, before the day and the plants get hot!

Water your vegetable garden and flower garden early in the day so the water has a chance to move down into the ground before the sun has a chance to dry it up. Never water at night or you will increase the chances of disease problems in your garden and you will also attract insects to your garden. If you water during the heat of the day, more than half of the water you apply to the garden will dry up before it reaches the roots of the plant because of the hot sun.

Feed your containers and hanging baskets at least every 2 weeks, because the roots are stuck in the container and they have no way to leave the container to search for food needed to grow and stay healthy. A well-fed container at this time of the year will thrive and fill your life with wonderful color and vegetables. Also water often when the days get hot and dry because the plants are growing faster now than any other time of the year.

Keep weeding your gardens as the weeds continue to develop, because during this time of the year, many weeds are making seeds for next year's garden. Weed a little bit now or twice as much next year, it's up to you. If weeds and watering are problems, apply bark mulch or compost on these gardens after you clean them to prevent new weed problems and help hold moisture in the ground. You can also use a pre-emergent weed control product like Preem that will prevent new weeds for germinating in your garden.
"I know that if odour, were invisible, as color is, I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds"
Robert Bridges

                                              Fresh in season Cherry-Berry pie                                          

We are at the peak of the Cherry season, the end of the strawberry season and the beginning of the Blueberry season, so while every berry is fresh and available let's make pie! If you have never made a mix berry pie for your family now is the time. I will be making 6 of these pies, one for now and the remainder for the freezer. Best of all you can make the top crust with dough like the bottom crust or use a crumble mixture for additional flavor. Last year I made this pie and added a cup of raspberries to the mixture, so it was a 4 berry pie and so good. Give it a try.

2 cups of pitted fresh cherries cut in half
2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 cup of fresh chopped strawberries
1 cup of fresh raspberries optional
cup of white sugar
3 tablespoons of cornstarch
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
teaspoon almond extract, omit if nut sensitive
Dash of salt
1 package Pillsbury premade pie crust, two pie crust in package
2 teaspoons of butter
1 extra large egg
1 tablespoon of water

Optional top crumble crust topping:
2/3 cup of brown sugar packed
6 tablespoons of butter
1 extra large egg
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of rolled oats
cup of all-purpose flower
teaspoon of salt
teaspoon of baking soda

1} Mix all 8 or 9 of the first ingredients in a large bowl

2} Line your 9-inch pie plate with your bottom crust, and trim extra pastry crust. Fill the pie plate fruit mixture, and dot with butter. Take your second pie crust and cover the pie and seal the edges with a fork. Or cut the top pie crust in strips with your pizza cutter to make a lattice crust and seal the edges.

3] if you want to do a crumble crust, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and spoon over the berry pie filling and spread evenly as possible or place spoonful's of the mixture over the fruit filling leaving spaces between crumble to allow the juices to come to the surface.

4} Bake the pie at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil for the last 20 minutes to prevent over browning if needed.

5} if you're using a pie crust top or lattice pie crust top, use a pastry brush and paint with a bit of milk and sprinkle crust with a bit of white sugar for a bit more sweetness before cooking. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve with a big scoop of Vanilla Ice-cream. Enjoy!

Days to look forward 

July 17th - National Ice Cream Day is in 4 days
July 27th - Take Your Plants for a Walk Day is in 14 days

Keep records will make you a better gardener!!


Garden Journal

        Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.


Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95! 

special!        Supplies are now limited!


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