Early plants handling the rain while others will need replanted

Our gardens and yards are flourishing or suffering from all the rain. The areas that are clay are squishy underfoot and there’s been a moat around my garden. Still, plants that went in early are doing well. Spinach is bolting now, the leaf shape changing from roundish to arrow-shaped, but there have been many meals and spinach will get replanted for a fall crop in late July. I plant sugar snap peas since they are so good raw, they are filling their pods now, the fatter the pod the sweeter the peas. The third spring vegetable, asparagus, is now free to grow tall and recharge its underground parts. One foolish zucchini had a bloom on it yesterday but they are really not ready to start flowering. Tomatoes are flowering. Tomatoes are designed for buzz pollination, if you notice, the flower is downward facing so a bee can buzz underneath and pollen falls on the female part of the flower and the back of the bee. I help by flicking the flowers to hopefully discharge the pollen in case a bee has not been by. Found a couple of Colorado potato beetles on my potatoes, picked them off and put them in a gallon milk jug with a little water, they can’t fly out.

Peonys and iris are finished now, dead head (remove dead flowers) the plants to focus energy on growth and not seed production. Lilies and roses are starting to bloom and all the geraniums and flowers from garden centers should be lush. This year I planted breadseed poppies for the first time and they are eyecatching, rich purple flowers on tallish (2-3 feet) stems with silvery gray leaves.

Even though we have had a lot of rain it’s possible the later summer will be dry. The raised beds are great for drainage so potatoes don’t rot, but the other side of that is rain moves right through the beds. This week I spread leaf mulch around all my squash, potatoes, tomatoes and other plants to try to keep in moisture when that becomes necessary. The mulch will also keep weeds down.

I was at a conference last week and there were a couple of talks on ash trees. There must be a good seed bank because ash continue to come up in my yard. Someone suggested that the ash borer doesn’t attack until the bark goes from smooth (in young trees) to rough. I will try a few things to save the trees I have. However I’m noticing the sycamores are looking ragged and wonder if the borer is attacking them since most mature ash trees are dead now.

Weeds are growing like crazy and I am a bit frantic to get my yard somewhat respectable since it will be on the Tiffin Historic Trust garden tour the 30th. My yard will always be a work in progress since I have more ideas and experiments than time but I know the other 10 gardens on the tour will be immaculate and encourage you to visit and get ideas.

Susan Carty is a local gardener and a professor emerita of biology at Heidelberg University.

Contact her via:newsroom@advertiser-tribune.com