Garden Boss answers YOUR questions!
If you squeeze the sides of a snapdragon blossom, it opens its little mouth and says “rawr rawr.” Or maybe that’s me. These flowers are edible, though flavor ranges from bland to bitter. Probably best as a garnish. In Missouri, the plant will stay green through November.
Male Japanese beetles will fly to plants where females were feeding, or pretty much anyplace where the females are. In the morning, when the females climb out of the holes they’ve dug to lay their eggs, a bunch of males will fly over and land and try to mate with her. And she’s like, “Dudes, I just woke up, geez.”
One way of outsmarting tomato diseases may be to plant a wide variety of disease-resistant tomato plants, not just one variety. Even if you lose one or two tomato plant to the disease, the other varieties could resist it. Also, space the tomato plants well apart from each other. My tomato plants were scattered around the garden, well apart from each other, and this probably saved some of my plants.
To keep the ground cool while the seeds are germinating, shade it by placing a board over your rows, raising it off the ground with two flowerpots or bricks. Or use shade cloth or even sheer curtains to help keep the plants cool. When the seedlings emerge, remove the board, then mulch the ground with a half-inch of grass clippings or straw. Add more mulch once the seedlings are 1 to 2 inches tall.
It seems a shame to relegate food plants to second place in the garden. They aren’t as tidy as ornamentals, but they were bred to produce bountiful crops, but they can also look very good, and many of them can fit in well in a mixed border.
August is the hottest month — allegedly, as it started out as pretty cool here in Missouri, but now the heat’s finally showing up. At any rate, the vegetable garden is going like gangbusters right now. Here’s a little list of chores for the August garden, just to keep you up to speed.
The best place to grow tomatoes will have full sun for six hours a day. Hotter southern locations might need a little afternoon shade to give the tomatoes a bit of relief so they can survive and thrive. A well-drained site with rich, loamy soil is ideal. If you don’t have a location with full sun for six hours a day, you might have to trim back some tree branches. If your soil isn’t ideal, start adding organic material like compost to it.
Summer means cantaloupes, honeydews, and watermelon. Plant them now to give ’em a good start.
If you’re a beginner, start small. You can always make the garden bed bigger if you are really crazy about gardening. If your interest wanes – or if some unexpected life event comes up that makes taking care of your garden difficult – then the garden is still manageable.