Gardener's Grapevine 2014.07.02

This past week has been more than a little challenging. I somehow managed to mess my back up. If you’ve ever injured your back, you know it puts a halt to just about everything in your life.

I spent a lot of time reading and discovered two interesting articles on the internet. The first was written by a woman who avidly gardens, stating her favorite garden tool is a crowbar. She said that it worked great for lifting roots from under the soil and edged beds really well. I always read the articles and then analyze the good and bad points of the idea. The bad would be the weight of it. The positive would be no broken garden trowels, nothing can out power a crowbar and the curved end is the perfect shape to dig under plants.

The other article was about using egg shells to deter snails and slugs. It showed egg shells in a ziplock bag being smashed to small bits. Then you sprinkle them around the plants that snails and slugs eat and it supposedly deters them. I don’t see how this can work, as eggs are what you use to encourage worms to come into your garden. They eat them to obtain calcium and other key nutrients. I use all my egg shells in my composting and what great soil I get.

I checked my garden calendar of “to-do's” that I have bookmarked on-line. Apparently we are to continue thinning our plants to ensure proper spacing, check soil moisture content often to avoid plant stress, and harvest mature vegetables frequently to promote more production. Other garden chores for this month are tying up tomatoes and pruning sucker branches and covering up onion bulbs, potato tubers and carrot shoulders that are peeking out of the soil with soil or mulch.

Weed your garden as plants have to compete for space, food and moisture. Weeding after a good rain is the best time, as they pull out easy and rapidly. This hot humid weather lately has produced a bumper crop of weeds.

Monitor your plants for bugs, slugs and disease that challenges the harvest and take appropriate action. Also, early July is when you should re-fertilize your garden with a good nitrogen fertilizer. Be sure to spread it at a few inches from the plant and don’t fertilize until the plants have set their fruit. It is so fun to plant a garden, but not so much to care for the rest of the season.