Tofino garden in July
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
I'm going to say it again, Horsetails are driving us all crazy, the methods that seem to work to get rid of them are, increase drainage and aeration to your garden, improve soil structure, lime if possible being careful around rhododendrons and other acidic loving plants, fertilize, fertilize, fertilize. I did notice this year, the load of soil we had in over previous years, in the garden, grew horsetails, didn't actually think about were they came from until, I talk with another landscaper, who got soil from the same place, anyway, in my garden, horsetails came up like crazy, in pots and planters same soil, no horsetail. Why do you think this is? because the concentration of fertilizer is higher in the pots, and woo hoo no horsetail. Some things not to do: Do not cover with plastic and mulch this is just a temporary solution, weed killers only kill the roots just so far below the surface, then they come back up again. So on with July, fertilise your rhodos, azaleas and camellias one last time before the end of the month, use a low nitrogen fertilizer, so as to not put on too much new growth, that may not be able to harden of before winter sets in. Be sure to stake your tomatoes, and any tall growing plants before they fall over and cause and damage to the plant. Check roses and other plants for aphids and whitefly. And because we have had such a wet spring, watch for black spot on roses and other plants.
A summer application of weed and feed for the lawn is a good idea, if you use lime as well; remember to wait 2 weeks between applications of lime and fertilizer. Trim back any spent perennials, and if bedding plants are getting leggy, there's no problem with trimming them back, this will only make the foliage thicker, and then put out even more blossoms. There is still time to seed some vegetables for mid summer to fall harvest, arugula, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage carrots, cilantro, endive, fennel, kale, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, oriental greens, onions, pea's spinach, swiss chard, turnips. Some throughout the month, and some before mid month, many of these can also be sown in fall for harvesting during the winter months, especially with a cold frame or green house. Ponds are very active at this point, and probably green, the green water doesn't hurt the fish unless it's so thick a spoon stands up, but if it bothers you, chances are it just needs more surface coverage to shade the water, this usually clears things up, try lilies, hyacinths and duck weed or fairy moss, for a 75% coverage. There is still time to be planting, before the heat of the summer hits us, with all the rain in June, some bedding plants took a hit, but replacements are still available, many perennials are just coming into bloom and trees and shrubs are putting on their summer coat. I hope you checked your garden beds for bare spots for bulbs etc, as bad as it is, spring flowering bulbs are ordered and on their way soon. And no, you plant spring flowering bulbs in the fall not in the spring. Start to get your Amaryllis ready for blossoming by Christmas Aaaaggggg!!!!! Put it away in a dark place and no water til the end of September.
Watch out for slugs, there are some viciously large ones right now, and please if you see one on the side of the road and have to stop and take pictures, pull completely off the road, do not get out of your vehicle, do not feed it, it will just come back for more, do not try to pet it, it will slime you.
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino gardening in July 2007 by Trina Mattson for Tofino Time Magazine.