Go ahead and plant your tomatoes, squash and other summer veggies. Since peppers like even warmer soil, plant those in a couple of weeks. And while you’re at it, plant a few geraniums, petunias and other summer annuals in a pot or in the ground. If you’re not sure what to plant, visit your local garden center and ask a staffer.
Plant up a window box with overbearing strawberries, which are plentiful in garden centers this time of year. I’ve had great success with Tristar plants I purchased, and the All-America Selections winner Delizz, which I grew from seed, but is available as plants.
Squash bug protection
If squash bugs or squash vine borers are a problem, use a row cover over the new plantings to prevent the bugs from getting to the plants. Take the cover off once the plants start to bloom. Squash needs bees to pollinate flowers. These insects seem to prefer summer squashes. Hubbard and other fall-winter squashes are bothered less.
Cut back tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs as the leaves turn yellow or brown. It’s best to wait at least four to six weeks after the blooms fade before removing the leaves. At least snip back the stems of the bulbs to keep the garden looking tidy.
Move your houseplants outdoors for a summer vacation, starting them out in a shady area, gradually moving them to more light. Remember, some houseplants are indeed shade lovers and will fry in the sun. Houseplants grow more quickly outdoors. They also will dry out faster and need regular watering and fertilizer. Always read and follow the label directions.
Ok to prune
You’ve been waiting for weeks to prune your spring-blooming shrubs like forsythia, viburnum and lilac, and now you can.
Pruning is the selective removal of branches. The branches are usually dead, growing in the wrong director or touching other branches. A shrub can be pruned for size, but if that’s a constant chore, consider moving the shrub.
For less maintenance, allow shrubs to be the form they want to be – fountain, upright, rounded, sprawling. It’s a job to shear plants and keep them sheared because the branches continue to grow, messing with the form.