By Keith Mickler
County Coordinator and Agriculture Agent
Working in the yard and garden definitely promotes social distancing at my homestead. Just think about it, who really wants to help the resident gardener (that would be me) in the heat and windup all dirty, sweaty and smelly. That’s right, no one. Thus, I am now officially social distanced.
Below are few items of business for us resident gardeners who actually enjoy getting all dirty, sweaty, and smelly for the better good of the homestead:
- Remove the faded flowers from salvia, zinnia, coneflower, petunia, etc. Doing this will encourage more flowers.
- Remove all the stems that are supporting the faded flowers on your blue and pink hydrangeas; cut back the flowerless stems by one-third. The new growth that occurs between now and winter will produce next year’s blooms.
- Still time to plant flower seeds such as marigold, cosmos, cleome, dwarf sunflower, etc.
- Might want to provide support for the tall flower stems, they are prone to flopping over after a rain.
- Cut back herbs such as basil, mint and oregano by about half. This will prevent them from going to seed and promotes more fragrant leaves.
- By all means, don’t let fruit tree limbs break from such a heavy crop load. Prop up the limbs with poles or maybe even better, remove some unripe fruit.
- Don’t forget to regularly pick green beans, cucumbers, okra, squash, etc. If you don’t, they will become over-ripe on the vine, which can stop bloom production.
Happy Gardening and a Fantastic Fourth.
Keith Mickler is the County Coordinator and agriculture agent for The University of Georgia/Floyd County Cooperative Extension. Located at 12 E. Fourth Ave., Rome, GA 30161 (706) 295-6210. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.