The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Enjoying the last of 2017’s Dogwoods: The beautiful white Dogwood’s have adorned Piedmont woodlands and lawns since mid-April and are now finishing up their season of blooms. We will certainly miss their pure white blooms but can still enjoy their oval green foliage and later in autumn we can observe their crop of red berries.

Setting out a few Black Beauty Eggplants: Eggplants enjoy warm soil temperatures and surely the soil of late May is what they thrive in. You will need only one six-pack of them to produce all the eggplants you need. Set them out about two few feet apart to allow space to support them with stakes or cages. Leaves of the eggplants are tender so they have many insect enemies. You may need to dust of spray them often with Sevin dust or insect spray to assure good success with a harvest.

Cage or stake all types of tomatoes? All types of tomatoes, whether determinate, indeterminate or even patio tomatoes need to be supported with cages or stakes to support them and keep fruits above ground. Some tomato varieties may even need the benefits of both stakes and cages before the growing season is over.

Enjoying a large container of rainbow colored rose moss: Warm temperatures of late May will cause Portulaca or rose moss with its other name, desert rose, to produce many blooms each day. The best attribute of rose moss is that when you purchase six or nice packs, they are already in bloom so you can chooses the colors your desire. Rose moss comes in colors of white, yellow, orange, red, pink, wine, burgundy, gold and even cream. This is one of the few annuals that you can plant as many as a dozen or more in a large container because they spread out over the container since they produce more flowers than foliage. They remain productive all the way until frost.

Continue planting green beans for summer harvests: Green beans are the most continuous producing vegetable that can be planted in succession during May, June and even into July. You can choose from varieties of Strike, Tenderette, Kentucky Wonder Bush, Blue Lake Bush, Derby and Top Crop. Most green bean varieties will produce over a long period if you continue to pick the harvest clean.

Fireflies on a warm spring evening: Fireflies or lightning bugs are now more abundant as the evenings get warmer. They glide across the back deck and once in a while we catch one of them so we can remember that “smell” that brings memories of catching them in Northampton County on the sawdust pile across the road from her house. It would not take long to catch a pint mason jar full of them. We also remember the “spankings” we got for bringing jars of fireflies into her house! By the way, they still have that same “smell” as they did when I was a boy!

Impatients make best hanging baskets: Impatiens which some in colors of white, pink, salmon, red, wine, burgundy and bright orange not only make beautiful containers but the best of hanging baskets. Plant no more than three plants in each basket because over the summer they will spread and cover the whole basket. Water the baskets each day until water runs out the hole in the container bottom.

Continue to set out tomato plants: Set out a few plants each week and chose many varieties to assure a harvest over the whole long hot summer. Use pellet tomato fertilizer such as Vigoro of liquid tomato fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro tomato food. When you set out tomato plants, apply a half handful of Vigoro tomato fertilizer into the soil and mix it up before setting out the tomato plant. Always mix fertilizer pellets with the soil got best results.

The very best hot weather tomatoes: There are hundreds of tomato varieties with new ones coming on the scene every year, but it’s hard to come up with a variety that can replace the tried and true hot weather types of Rutgers, Homestead, Marglobe and Big Boy. They have stood the test of time and produce well year after year.

The Panda Fern on the back deck: We love the Panda Fern because it is so old fashioned. It produces all summer long in lush prickly green that bounds over the pot and has to be trimmed back to give it a beautiful shape.

An interesting tomato variety: An interesting tomato variety produced by American Seed Company, named “Oregon Spring” is a cool weather tomato that produces early tomatoes. American Seed has been in business almost as long as Burpee. We bought a couple of packets in a seed rack at Walmart for only fifty cents a packet. We sowed one packet last month and had almost a hundred percent germination rate. They should be ready to transplant to the garden plot this week. We will report on how they produce as the season progresses. An interesting fact about American Seed is that we sold seed from this company to folks in our neighborhood as a boy in the 1950’s. Back then, they produced many kinds of flower seeds and we made a few dollars selling them. What a great memory of this company! We are happy they are still in business!

Ray Baird

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