Tending The Garden – June 8, 2015

Container grown eggplant

Container grown eggplant

The heat is upon us, and for me that means watering my containerized vegetables, like the eggplant shown above, every day or every other day. I am growing eggplant, peppers (in Earthboxes), and tomatoes, as well as some herbs in pots. To keep these plant from wilting, I try to check them daily and water as needed. This is critical to keep watering vegetables, if you expect them to produce good fruits in containers. I also now start liquid feeding them every two weeks until I start harvesting.

My zoysia grass is also showing stress, even though just a week ago we had lots of rain. If we have a shower, I turn my sprinkler system off (it is scheduled to run 3 days a week). But with temperatures above 90, I have certain spots in my turf that say, “water me,” and then I turn the system on and start it back on a regular schedule. This way, I do not use water I do not need.

I am also into the summer pruning. Once the climbing roses have finished blooning, I am taking out old canes that need to be removed and shaping them with fall in mind, as they often produce a few fall blooms. We are continually grooming the dead flowers by snipping them off or cutting them to go indoors. Daylilies can be done daily, but things like perennial salvia, I cut the stems off the old flowers to encourage new flowers.

Later this week, if rain is predicted, I plan to fertilize the squash, tomatoes, and beans in the garden in hopes of harvesting the beans and squash soon.

And finally weeding is an ongoing exercise. When I walk in the yard and see a weed, I generally pull it, so that I will not have to devote long hours weeding. Summer watering, weeding, and maintenance will keep your lawn, beds, and veggie garden looking okay.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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