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Gardeners Checklist: Here Is What to Do on the Week of July 8

Gardeners Checklist: Here Is What to Do on the Week of July 8

By Ron Kujawski 

* Carry a pair of pruning shears or sharp, heavy-duty scissors when working in the flower garden. Use these to fend off wild beasts, and more importantly, to snip off (deadhead) spent flowers on annuals and perennials. Annual flowers will continue to bloom with regular deadheading. Likewise, a few perennials may re-bloom with deadheading. These include catmints, coneflowers, coreopsis, delphinium, garden phlox, salvias, and veronica.

* Sidedress annual flowers with a general-purpose garden fertilizer, e.g. a fertilizer with an analysis similar to 5-10-5. This will encourage new growth and flowering through the summer. Otherwise, annuals tend to look worn and scraggly, much like gardeners, by mid-summer.

* Pick raspberries every day or two as they are apt to turn to mush (technical term for over-ripened) if left on the plants too long during hot weather. You may have to fight the birds and Japanese beetles for the berries, which is another reason to harvest berries frequently.

* Check the underside of leaves on roses for rose slugs. These are the larvae of the Bristly Roseslug Sawfly. The larvae are semi-transparent, pale green, and covered with tiny bristles. They feed by chewing on the leaf tissue between the main veins. There are several generations of rose slug through the summer, so persistent management is necessary. Try insecticidal soap or neem oil for control.

* Be diligent in hand-picking and destroying Japanese beetles from gardens and landscapes on a daily basis. One reason for this persistent attention is that early arriving beetles tend to emit chemical signals that invite other Japanese beetles to join them for a dinner party on your favorite plants. By getting rid of the early beetles, population levels can be kept to a minimum and eliminate or reduce the need for application of pesticides.


The primary reason for using salt in cooking is to enhance the flavor of foods. However, as just about everyone knows, too much salt can be unhealthy. It is also well known that herbs can be substituted for salt as a flavor enhancer in most recipes. I am a big fan of pies, any kind of pie, and one of the ways that we use herbs is to blend them into flour when preparing the crust for pies or tarts. With savory pies such as onion pie or vegetable and goat cheese tart, we mix one or more finely minced herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, summer savory, sweet marjoram, and thyme into flour. With fruit pies and tarts, minced mint or lemon thyme make a great flavor enhancer when added to the crust. Most herbs are grown in pots that we bring indoors prior to winter and place in a cool location near a sunny window. In this way, we have fresh herbs to use as flavor enhancers for pies and other culinary creations year round. 

Ron Kujawski began gardening at an early age on his family's onion farm in upstate New York. Although now retired, he spent most of his career teaching at the UMass Extension Service. He serves on Berkshire Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Advisory Committee. His book, Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, is available here.

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