Surely it is not surprise that fresh produce is costing more at the grocery store. Some of what you are buying you could be growing in your own backyard. I almost feel growing a garden has become more of a necessity than a hobby for many residents.
Summer is not a great time for many of the common vegetables but there are a few you might give a try. If you have room you could plant sweet potatoes. Now this is a vegetable just about all the family members are going to like and it ranks high on the nutrition charts too. Be warned sweet potatoes do need some room so find a large sunny spot.
You may also want to try a vegetable you have passed over in the past. For our family it's southern peas. I like them but they did not tempt the other family members. Well the seeds are in the ground and everyone has agreed to give them a try. You might like them too.
Even if you don't like the summer crops now is the time to pick your garden spot for future plantings. It should be sunny and have a water source nearby. If sandy you might think about working in lots of organic matter. It could be grass clippings, saved leaves or available compost from a local recycling center. You might also use peat most and don't forget the cow manure.
- Lawn feeding restrictions are in effect in some areas; check before applying fertilizer.
- Where permitted help lawns continue new growth with a slow release fertilizer application.
- Regreen yellow lawns with an iron feeding.
- Continue to repair bare spots and declining grass left from winter damage or pests.
- Control crabgrass and broadleaf weeds invading turf.
- Till problem soils deeply before adding new grass.
- Incorporate organic matter into water resistant sands before planting a new lawn.
- Rains often supply adequate moisture during the summer months; watering may not be needed.
- Wait until the lawn shows signs of wilting before watering to help it develop deeper roots..
- Avoid sodding shady spots during the rainy season to prevent decline due to rot problems.
- Remove thatch and aerate lawns if needed.
Vegetable and fruit care:
- Tomato, eggplant and pepper plants are declining; remove when the harvest is over
- Wait to plant tomatoes, eggplants and peppers until next month.
- Replant with vegetables that won't mind the summer heat and rains.
- Sweet potatoes are a high yielding and easy to grow crop for summer.
- Locate or order seeds now for mid summer plantings; store in the refrigerator.
- Start vegetable seedlings for August transplants in small pots or cell packs in mid July.
- Feed summer vegetable plantings monthly.
- Cover vacant garden soil with clear plastic for eight weeks to bake out pests.
- Spray citrus trees with a low toxicity oil product to control greasy spot, mites and scale.
- Keep figs moist and mulched to avoid summer fruit drop.
- Feed bananas and papaya trees monthly.
- Turn the compost pile every other week.
- Prune blueberries when the harvest is over; also check and adjust the soil acidity.
- Give fruit trees light trimmings as needed to direct growth.
In the landscape:
- Most plants should have recovered from winter cold damage; replace as needed.
- Delay transplanting in ground trees and shrubs until late fall or winter.
- Now is the time to transplant palms and sagos during the rainy season.
- Remove 4- to 6-inches of new growth from poinsettias to encourage compact plants.
- Summer rains usually provide adequate water for established trees and shrubs.
- Divide the landscape into water use zones and water according to plant needs.
- Rains encourage out of bounds growth; prune plantings and edge walkways as needed.
- Mushrooms are normal growths; remove if children or pets are present as many are poisonous.
- It's not to late to trim trees but hurry to prevent wind damage during summer storms.
- Add new trees, shrubs and ground covers from containers.
- Construct a 4- to 6-inch berm of soil at the edge of root balls to aid in watering new plants.
- Water new plantings by hand to maintain a moist root ball.
- Create the tropical look with foliage plants.
- Remove declining flowers and replant with summer selections.
- Divide and replant perennials including Shasta daises, gerbera, bromeliads and many bulbs.
- Finish pruning azaleas and gardenias during early July or wait until next year.
- Root 4- to 6-inch tip cuttings from shrubs and perennials.
- Give roses a summer grooming and control black spot.
- Feed water gardens monthly.
- Clean and refill birdbaths weekly.
House and foliage plants:
- Transplant root bound foliage plants into larger containers.
- Make sure new containers and established plants have adequate drainage
- Adding pebbles or pieces of pots to the bottom of containers is still a good idea.
- Trim overgrown house plants; use trimmings for cuttings.
- Move light starved plants outdoors to a shady location.
- Ask a friend to care for your plants during vacation or move them outside to a shady spot.
- Fill empty indoor spaces with new plants.
- Feed house plants monthly or use a slow release fertilizer as instructed.
- Check for pests and remove with soapy water as needed.
Vegetables: Boniato, calabaza, cherry tomato, okra, Southern pea, Seminole pumpkin, sweet cassava, sweet potato and yard long bean; start transplants of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes from seed in mid July.
Herbs: Anise, basil, bay laurel, chive, dill, ginger, Mexican tarragon, mint, oregano, sage, sweet marjoram and thyme.
Flowers: Angelonia, ageratum, begonia, blue daze, bush daisy, butterfly plant, bulbine, cat's whiskers, coleus, crossandra, false heather, fire spike, gaillardia, ginger, goldenrod, impatiens, lantana, marigold, melampodium, Mexican petunia, Mexican sunflower, moon flower, pentas, periwinkle, porter weed, portulaca, purslane, salvia, sunflower, torenia and classic zinnia.
Bulb-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, spiderwort, rain lily and walking iris.