If you haven't already, plant heat-loving vegetables such as corn, cucumbers, green beans, lima beans, okra, peppers, pumpkin, New Zealand spinach, zucchini, summer squash, melons, and eggplant.
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Flowers are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.
~ Luther Burbank
Corn has an amazing history. "In Iroquois mythology, corn, beans and squash were represented as three inseparable sisters."* They were planted into one mound, seeds of maize first, later beans, and finally squash, because all three were eaten together.
Corn (Zea mays) or maize is a member of the grass family and is thought to have been cultivated by the Aztecs as early as the 8th century. There are many types of corn grown in the United States for varying purposes. Dent and flint corn are both grown for stock feed, silage, ground meal, etc. Sweet corn, (Z.mays rugosa) is the type grown in for human consumption. Both yellow and white sweet corn are popular today.
In Margaret Visser's book Much Depends on Dinner, she calls corn "Our Mother, Our Life." Much of our food supply has been touched by corn. Meat (corn-fed animals), canned and bottled food of all types, snacks, oils, margarines, syrups ... the list goes on and on. But long before groceries, in ancient history, corn was a staple food, a medicine and a means of exchange.
"When the young leaves of the oak tree are the size of a squirrel’s ear, then you plant," were instructions to early European settlers from the Indians. If you grew up in the heartland, you know that spring is planting time for corn. This is true for sweet corn, too. For your home gardens, corn should be planted in blocks no less than three rows wide, not single rows. Why, you ask? Because of pollination: pollen forms on the tassels and each silk will form a kernel of corn, if pollinated. When the corn is grown in a tighter grouping, with breezes assisting pollination, all those tassels in proximity to each other have a greater success ratio.
Corn needs lots of water and fertilizer while growing because it grows so fast and of course is so busy making ears of the sweetest corn you can imagine, just for you. Before planting, amend your soil with a high humus content amendment. Manure is another option. Mulch around your plants to keep weed growth down.
Harvest when the ears are mature. When is that? When the silks are brown and dry, the tips of the ears are rounded but not hard and the kernels spurt milky liquid when pierced with your fingernail.
In the meantime, , put in a few rows of sweet corn and enjoy. And if you are really feeling corny, sing a few bars of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" -- "The corn is as high as an elephant's eye..."!
* From Much Depends on Dinner by Margaret Visser
1. Continue to plant melons.
2. Plant tropical and subtropical plants.
3. Plant bougainvilleas.
4. Plant perennial morning glories.
5. Purchase fuchsias.
6. Continue to purchase epiphyllums.
7. Plant seeds of heat-loving annuals.
8. Use bedding plants for quick color.
9. Continue to plant summer vegetables.
10. Plant zoysia grass.
11. Plant exotic vegetables.
12. Purchase, plant and transplant succulents--including cacti and euphorbias.
13. Purchase alstroemerias throughout summer while they are in bloom.
14. Plant papayas and bananas.
15. Plant and transplant palms.
16. Continue to pick and deadhead roses.
17. Pinch back chrysanthemums to make them bushy.
18. Divide and repot cymbidiums that have outgrown their containers.
19. Remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall.
20. Prune epiphyllums.
21. Thin out deciduous fruit trees after June drop.
22. Give marguerites a "butch" haircut.
23. Cut back gamolepis and euryops.
24. Deadhead and pick summer flowers to keep them going.
25. Mow cool-season lawns longer.
26. Mow warm-season grasses shorter.
27. Clip runners off strawberries.
28. Prune climbing roses that bloom once a year in spring, but wait until flowers fade.
29. Divide English primroses after bloom or wait until September.
30. Continue to prune and train espaliers.
31. Continue to remove spent bloom stems from daylilies and to propagate the types that make proliferates.
32. Deadhead alstroemerias often by pulling off the stalks with a sharp tug.
33. Look for yellow leaves and green veins indicating chlorosis in citrus, gardenias, azaleas, and others; treat it with chelated iron.
34. Feed citrus and avocado trees.
35. Feed bamboo with a slow-release fertilizer.
36. Feed water lilies.
37. Fertilize cymbidiums with high nitrogen for growth.
38. Give camellias their second feeding for the year.
39. Feed container-grown annuals and perennials with a complete fertilizer.
40. Side-dress vegetable rows if you didn't do it last month.
41. Give strawberries a shot of 0-10-10 to prolong the harvest.
42. If peppers look yellow despite adequate nitrogen, spray them with Epsom salts.
There is just not much good one can say about thrips. They attack ornamental landscape plants, spread viruses, and simply make the foliage ugly and your plant sicker than it was. Many pests "move in" and make themselves at home when the health of a plant is poor. Thrips are no exception. In fact, they are most likely to attack a plant that is too dried out--especially if the foliage is dirty.
Thrips are microscopic and look like elongated black flies. They may be tiny, but the damage that they cause is not. And that damage is quite characteristic, and easily identified. The foliage becomes silvery or bronze and stippled, because thrips are both chewers and suckers. There can be a blackish deposit from their presence, and often the plant will develop sooty mold as well.
The natural predators to thrips include parasitoid wasps, soldier beetles, and green lacewings and their larvae. Spraying with insecticidal soaps can also help. If their presence is minimal, cut, remove, and destroy the infested foliage.
In severe cases, other insecticides can be used to treat an infected plant. Talk to one of our salespeople to determine not only the right product but also the right time in the season for treatment.
Remember--during hot, dry weather, one of your best protections is to make sure your plants have the appropriate amount of water and fertilizers to keep them healthy.
How can I keep cats from using my vegetable garden for a litter box?
First of all, remove any existing calling cards from your vegetable garden. If you can identify which one of your delightfully inconsiderate neighbors allows their cat to do his business in your garden, place the calling cards in a plastic bag on their front doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run. This gives the game "doorbell ditch" a whole new perspective--especially if you weren't able to play the game as a child.
If you don't have the time or the legs to play this game, a better solution is to sneak into your neighbor's yard at night and over-seed their garden with catnip. Their cat will be in pure heaven and never want to leave.
Kidding aside, there are a number of naturally safe repellents that should make Fifi think twice about using your garden as her personal toilet. If an electric fence or chicken wire isn't your cup of tea, consider applying a commercial cat repellent. The key to using a repellent is to consistently re-apply the product until Fifi associates the desired area with the bad smell.
Home remedies like moth balls (inside coffee cans with small holes in lids) or cayenne pepper shaken around the exterior of the bed have also been known to be somewhat effective. Mulching may help, and keeping the garden soil moist. Cats like loose, dry soil to bury their doings in. You may want to try to catch Fifi in the act and spray her with water. This will make you feel better but, unfortunately, rarely deters a persistent cat.
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What You'll Need:
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, peeled and diced
- 1 cup honeydew melon, peeled and diced (remove seeds)
- 1 cup mango, peeled, diced and pitted
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro or mint, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp. crystallized ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp. red bell pepper, minced
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional*)
Step by Step:
*Sesame seeds can be left off. (Some have trouble digesting them.)
- Put everything except the sesame seeds in a large bowl.
- Mix thoroughly.
- Let stand 10 minutes so that flavors can blend.
- Divide the fruit mixture among wineglasses and sprinkle with sesame seeds.