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  • Writer's pictureMavis Crowley

Summer is Here, but It's Not Too Late To Plant.

It’s the first day of summer and the question I hear the most at this time of year: Is it too late to plant? Well, in the words of that famous catcher Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” Not only can we plant flowers but it’s still possible to get a second crop of beans, corn and summer squash. Later this summer, going into the fall really, we can plant cold crops. These will often provide an even better harvest than the spring planting. Spinach and lettuce are better planted when temperatures drop slightly. I would say late August to early September. Flowers and shrubs, of course, can be planted now but getting them established with frequent watering when it is 90°-100° is essential.

In the vegetable garden, do plant some flowers nearby.

Flowers attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and others. The pollination process is essential to growing food crops; the movement of pollen to a flower’s stigma makes the vegetation produce fruit i.e. veggies! There are edible flowers too. In a sunny spot, borage is a tasty addition to salads and it provides lovely blue flowers of which bees are particularly fond. Nasturtiums make tasty foliage and pretty flowers to grace your plate too.

In the flower garden, in order to keep things blooming throughout the growing season there are two important steps: First, involves something called “dead heading”. This involves taking off the old flower heads which will quickly be replaced by new fresh buds. If the flower is allowed to go to seed, it has fulfilled its purpose in life and has little reason to keep on creating those lovely flowers we all so enjoy. So, by all means, when growing flowers, take off those old tired blooms. Second, varieties such as petunias and cat mint can get very leggy. At this point in the year, they do well with a staunch haircut. You can cut off one third to one half as long as there are some healthy leaves to reestablish the growth. Fertilize and water well after doing this.

Sit back and enjoy a lemonade! You did a great job! Those veggies are ripening and the flowers will come back prettier and fuller than ever!

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