This past weekend I harvested my first crop of elephant garlic. This was a new plant for me and I thoroughly enjoyed growing it. While it is not technically garlic (it is more closely related to leeks) it was a beautiful plant that can be used ornamentally or for its fist sized, mild, garlic tasting bulbs. My elephant garlic was given to me by a man who has grown it in his garden for 47 years. He got it from his parents who grew it for years before sharing with him. I absolutely love plants like this. Whether they are called heirloom plants or pass a long plants, they are a living link to our horticultural past. I love finding, growing and preserving these living links to our southern heritage. If you have an heirloom plant that you love, leave me a comment. I would love to hear about it.
- Invest in a few select organic insecticides– Bt for caterpillars, insecticidal soap for soft-bodied aphids, neem oil for beetles and squash bugs, spinosad for caterpillars and stink bugs. Follow label instructions, and spray only as needed. Mark the purchase date on the product container and store in a protected location, preferably indoors.
- When using any insecticide, mix up only what will be needed for the plants you are treating – I rarely mix up a gallon of anything, and often get by using a one pint or one quart squirt bottle, depending on the product and number of plants needing treatment. Once I determine how much a particular product is needed per pint, I write it directly on the pesticide container so I don’t have to scour the label and recalculate every time.
- Protect bees by applying pesticides in the late afternoon or evening, when bees are less active.
- Control Spurge and Puslane-These two plants are some of the most difficult to control. Both grow rapidly and produce thousands of seeds. Chemical control has little effect on mature purslane. Pull these weeds and place in a plastic trash bag. Do not compost! Apply heavy mulch or solarize if possible after you remove the plants.
- Plant okra, sweet potatoes, winter squash and peppers-Realize this is the absolute end of the spring planting season. It may be too late to plant even these in southern parts of the state.
- Water correctly- It is better for your plants, and your water bill, if you apply one inch of water every five days. Water slowly in the morning to reduce evaporation loss.
- Remove spent plants like green beans to avoid attracting pests.
- Top dress empty rows with compost and cover with a heavy layer of mulch to prepare them for fall planting in late July
- Cut fresh flowers for the house-Cut your zinnia’s, sunflowers, gomphrena, celosia and other fresh cuts early in the morning. Cut stems on 45 degree angles, strip foliage and drop immediately into cool, clean water
- Plant sweet potato vine from transplant-Sweet potato vine is a great way to add lots of low maintenance color to your pots and beds. With its bright chartreuse or purple-black foliage this drought and heat tolerant plant will add LOTS of color to your summer landscape. Sweet potato vine will provide you lots of color right up to the first freeze
- Pick remaining plums-Plums will continue to ripen after they are picked. Pull when they have half color and allow them to ripen inside; especially if making jelly. Over ripe fruit left on the trees, or on the ground, invites in raccoons, possums and mocking birds
- Pick Peaches-Pick peaches when they are slightly soft to the touch
I share these posts on Our SimpleHomestead Blog Hop. Be sure to stop by. The “hop” has tons of great information from gardeners and homesteaders all over the world!