Tofino Gardening in July
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
Who let the slugs out, O O O O O, who let the slugs out? ARG ARG ARG
July is going to be the month to combat the slugs. There are several ways to battle it out with them, and depending on how much they cost you usually determines which route you're going to take. There are the old methods, which make it hard for the slugs to travel over to their next meal, wood ash, hair, and egg shells, and kelp plus as they biodegrade they provide nutrients to the soil. Then there's the commercial bait, it works alright, but you do need to exercise caution with pets, kids and wildlife, the Safer's products work just as well for me, and the only thing it can attract is the crows, although this year, I've not heard of as many problems with them. (Knock on wood). The other method I used was going out after dark with a flashlight, salt shaker and glass of wine, find the slugs, and add salt, you don't need to drown them in it, just enough to make them shrivel will work, the wine is for me. Oh yah, let's not forget the old drown them in beer system, now my way of thinking, who'd want to give up their expensive beer to throw a party for slugs and then have to clean up after them? The other method I use is brutal, but as I said, depending on how much they can cost you, will determine your method, (I have scissors). One of the best ways to stop them though, would be to eliminate them before they lay eggs in spring, as it really is the little guys that can do the most damage, so for next year as early March and April rolls around, bait for them then, and eliminate the problem, before they lay eggs.
July is the month to do one more weed and feed on your lawn before summer. As well as applying fertilizer to any trees and shrubs one last time for the year. Stop applying Rhodo fertilizer, as you want any new growth to start to harden off before fall and winter arrives.
As some of your spring flowering Shrubs have finished blooming, this would be the best time to prune them for shape, and tidiness. And although deadheading your Rhodo isn't necessary, it does make the plant look neater. Keep deadheading your annuals that you've planted, this will ensure that you have continuous blossoms and thicker growth through the summer. And if some of your annuals are starting to look really leggy, there is no harm in cutting them back, you may loose the blossoms for a time, but the plant will come back thicker and with more blooms. Remove any spent blooms from your roses as well.
Start fall and winter crops now, such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce and beans. And as early as it may seem, now is the time to start thinking about any bulbs that you may want to plant in the fall. Did you make a list this spring, go around town and check out your favorites and want them in your garden? Let me know, as we are starting to put in our bulb orders now.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino at 619 Tibbs Place Road.