Late spring is the time for a lot of activity in the garden. Weeds should be controlled by pulling, cultivating or mulching. Mulching is best because it also will conserve soil moisture.
Vegetable plants should be thinned so that each will have space to attain full size. Highest yields will be provided by reasonably close spacing, but crowded plants will be spindly, and the harvest small and low in quality.
To get a bushy type of growth in the flower garden, pinch out the tops of young annuals, such as petunias, marigolds and zinnais. Take about an inch of the top when the plant is about four inches tall. This will cause branches to develop and give a nice, well-branched form.
With mums, pinching should continue until the middle of July. By then growth should be compact and sturdy, with flower buds getting ready to form.
Pick off old wilted flowers as they die to cause continuous blooming throughout the summer. Most annual flowers will bloom until killed by frost if given good care. They do not have a single short flowering period as is the case with most perennials.
Unlike flowers, vegetables seldom fully recover if their growth is checked. Water gently at regular intervals when there is not an inch of rainfall during the week. Vegetable plants won't do well without plenty of moisture.
Many gardeners have seeds left over and the question is, should they be saved or thrown away? By all means, try to preserve them for next year's use.
The two most important factors shortening seed life are moisture and high temperatures. Here are suggestions from the National Garden Bureau:
Take a paper towel and roll up a couple tablespoons of powdered dried milk from a freshly opened packaged. Put a rubber band around it.
Place the roll of dried milk in the bottom of a wide-mouth jar and immediately drop in packets of leftover seed. Seal the jar tightly using a rubber ring to exclude moist air. Store the jar in the refrigerator, not the freezer.
Dried milk will quickly soak up moisture from the air when you open the jar. But get the lid back on without delay when you put in or take seed packets.
With so many people spraying and treating their lawns for weeds, a few precautions are in order, according to specialists at the University of Delaware.
Do not use weed-killers under trees or near shrubs. They may cause leaves to become twisted, puckered and small. Later, the foliage may suddenly turn brown and begin to fall. The entire plant can be affected if the weed-killer is taken up through the roots.
Do not use the same sprayer for fungicides and insecticides that was used for weed-killers and do not apply weed-killers on a windy day.The wind-blown spray could cause damage in a garden almost a block away.
Research has shown that everyone who handles insecticides should be sure to wear rubber or plastic gloves. If you get the insecticide on your hands, it may stay there for a considerable length of time or be absorbed by your body.
A former pest control operator had traces of chlordane and dieldrin on his hands two years later. A fruit and vegetable grower had methoxychlor, captan and malathion on his hands seven days later.
Parathion was found on the hands of one man two months after his last known contact. Endosulfan TDE, kelthane, dacthal, trithion, and guthion may have persisted on the hands of exposed workers for up to 112 days.
Be careful about using 2,4-D in the vicinity of tomato plants. They are very susceptible and can be seriously damaged.