In between the main planting and the harvest seasons, take the opportunity for some basic garden and orchard care.
- Spring plantings of annual flowers and vegetables have used most of the nutrients you gave them at planting, so fertilize again to finish the season strong. For most vegetable plants, using the G&B Organics Tomato, Vegetable & Herb fertilizer is sufficient. For annual flower plantings, using a liquid fertilizer would be most beneficial.
- Perennials and shrubs can also be fed now. You’ll see the most results from plants that flower later (like asters and chaste tree) and plants that are already setting buds for next year’s flowering (like lilacs and rhododendrons). Acid soil loving plants like rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas will want a fertilizer that adheres to those conditions like the G&B Organics Rhododendron, Azalea Camellia fertilizer. Using an all-purpose fertilizer would be sufficient for lilacs, as well as most shrubs and perennials.
- Many fruits are best fertilized now too. Fruit trees make most efficient use of fertilizers applied in the summer, such as the G&B Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree fertilizer. Everbearing strawberries should be fed small amounts throughout the summer, but June-crop types need a big dose now, right after harvest ends. Cane berries (blackberry and raspberry) and blueberries are due for another feeding too. Use an all-purpose fertilizer for all berries, except for blueberries; blueberries will respond well to the same fertilizer as rhododendrons as they like acidic soil conditions too.
Always read the package labeling for application rate and instructions.
While most orchard pruning is done in the late winter, there are some benefits to summer follow-ups.
- In tree fruits, careful thinning of over-producing branches results in better overall yield and quality of fruit. Summer is also a good time to remove sucker growth from the crown and roots, and also to gently thin vertical or excessive new growth from the canopy – light pruning now won’t result in the vigorous new growth response that winter-to-spring pruning does.
- Most cane berries produce on year-old canes, which die back after fruiting. After these crops finish harvesting, remove all of the stems that fruited to allow and encourage vigorous new growth for crops next year – or in the fall for everbearing raspberries.
- Remove all suckers from everbearing strawberries as plantlets form before they root in. For June-crop strawberries, direct the spread of runners into the bed area but keep them; after harvesting is over, remove older crowns from the patch, and then shear the leaves off just above the crown.
- Grapes can be thinned now also. First, remove any very weak bunches; then thin new growth vines to improve air circulation and sun exposure. Be careful to leave enough canopy to protect bunches from sunburn.
- Your fall and winter edible garden starts now. Plant cole crops like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli; leaf crops like kale and chard; or root crops like carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips to enjoy year-round vegetable production.
- It’s also not too late to fit in some late plantings of fast maturing crops like bush beans and lettuce. Take advantage of the shade of taller crops like pole beans or corn to protect young or heat-sensitive plantings.
- Remember to be aware of crop rotations – don’t plant your fall cole crops where you just harvested your spring cauliflower!
Click Here>> For more information about what to do in the summer vegetable garden.