Tending the Garden – May 22, 2016

Cabbage Looper Damage on my broccoli leaves

Cabbage looper damage on my broccoli leaves

Fertilizer damage on coneflower

Fertilizer damage on coneflower

Hydrangea dying in a water logged pot

Hydrangea dying in a waterlogged pot

Working in my yard today, it was very obvious that I am experiencing some garden problem. While my broccoli is producing some remarkable size heads, one pot of the plant’s leaves is being eaten up with cabbage loopers. I need to apply DiPel or Sevin to get these under control if I expect it to produce heads. Then I made a stupid but common mistake when I was fertilizing my perennials the other day. I was expecting rain, so I tossed out granular fertilizer. Since it did not rain, and I did not water the fertilizer in, it burned the foliage. The image above shows the damage, and I doubt that this plant will bloom this year.
I have been growing a hydrangea in a pot on the deck for the last several years. A couple of days ago I noticed the pot was holding water, even though the others on the deck were dry. Even though I cut off the watering of the container, the damage is already done. My only choice now is to remove the plant and hope to save it, and remove the soil and unstop the drainage hole. I will probably not try to plant this hydrangea back in the pot, but will replace it with a new plant.
Also today my neighbor brought over one of his tropical hibiscus blooms and asked me how to control the ants on the buds and blooms. Ants are a common problem on hibiscus. I suggested he not worry about them, but applying a little Sevin on the buds will help control them.
In closing, it is very dry and watering my grass, veggie garden, and flowers now are a must. To help with keeping the moisture level in the veggie garden adequate, I am applying pine straw mulch around the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and squash. Looking at the weather forecast this week and the lack of rain projected and higher temperatures, I think we can safely say summer has arrived.

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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