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It’s not too late

Sweet basil is often a top choice for people who combine culinary and gardening skills. But basil is quite easy to grow in our warm summers, either in the ground or in pots.
Sweet basil is often a top choice for people who combine culinary and gardening skills. But basil is quite easy to grow in our warm summers, either in the ground or in pots. File photo

I spoke recently with a teacher who has been too busy with work to plant a garden. But with the end of school, she will have more free time and wants to plant some things, especially herbs. She wondered aloud, “Is it too late?”

It is not too late.

Garden centers remain full of lovely flowers, vegetables and herbs that can be easily transplanted now and enjoyed through the summer and into fall..

At least now, you don’t have to worry about a sudden cold snap. But because the sun is quite hot these days, you will have to pay close attention to watering, especially in the early days while the roots are getting established. This is not something to be casual about, especially with potted plants, even if the weather forecast calls for rain. Hot sun will lead to wilting and decline of plants lacking sufficient water.

Tomato and pepper plants can certainly go in the ground now as can various bedding plants such as scarlet sage, cosmos, angelonia, portulaca and other annuals that like hot weather.

I’d even recommend sowing seeds of fast-growing marigolds or zinnias that produce rapidly in warm weather. I believe sowing seeds really makes you feel like a gardener. It is fun to put those little seeds into a pot of clean soil or seed-sowing mix and wait for them to germinate and turn into plants big enough for the garden.

I avoid planting seeds directly into the garden when the weather is quite hot. Seedlings need the protection of a pot that can be kept away from the hottest sun and drenching rain.

Everyone should seize the opportunity now to set out herbs. Most really like our warm summers and will grow rapidly.

Basil doesn’t just like hot weather, it loves it. This is a favorite for people who enjoy cooking, but don’t consider themselves to be gardeners. Don’t overlook basil as a top choice for a large pot on your deck or patio. And, remember to pinch the tips of young plants so that they branch nicely and you will have more leaves to pick.

Various thymes, oregano, parsley, rosemary and sage are all easily grown in the ground or in pots and will be with you a long time. A combination of herbs makes a lovely as well as useful addition to an existing bed or in a large pot kept handily by the kitchen door.

Ask Nancy

Q. I see small bugs on the stems of my roses. I do not want to spray them with any poison. Is there something else I can try?

A. Those are aphids. This is a problem easy to remedy with a strong spray of water from a garden hose. The water will dislodge the insects, which are chewing on the soft green tissue you see on the new growth of your roses. I only had to do this once this spring, and the problem was done with.

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