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Gardeners Grow Together Week 20, May, 2021: Fine Tuning!

Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do every week during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!

To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.

So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!


Week 20:

Fine Tuning

Now is the time to do some tweaking with some of your plants to make sure they perform at their best for you. Whether pinching or potting; tying in or supporting, here's what we need to do this week:

In the vegetable patch:

Pinch Peas

Mound Potatoes

Rhubarb Flowers

In the flower garden:

Pinch Sweet Peas

Support Peonies

Pot Up Dahlias

In the Vegetable Patch:

Pinch Your Peas

If your peas are up and and have at least four or five sets of leaves, pinch off the top down to the third set of leaves. This will cause the plant to branch and be a fuller plant, thus producing more pods.

Mound Potatoes

It is important that you keep mounding soil on top of your potato plants to keep the light from turning the tubers green. Green potatoes are toxic. They probably won't kill you, but they can give you a pretty wicked belly ache! You will want to do it every week during the growing season. You will also get more potatoes, as the stems will root under ground and keep producing!

Rhubarb Flowers

Your rhubarb is going to start thinking about flowering right about now. They need to be cut off at the base to prolong your harvest season. Rhubarb goes mostly dormant after it blooms.

The blooms look like a weird giant fungus as it grows quickly out of the center of the plant, but it actually makes a very attractive large cut flower. As it matures it turns into a beautiful huge white or pink plume, up to three feet tall! Remove the flower spike before it sets seeds, though, to prolong your harvest time.

In the Flower Garden:

Pinch Your Sweet Peas

Just like your vegetable garden peas, Sweet Peas need to be pinched back, too. Pinching will cause the plant to branch out, thus producing many, many more of those precious, most fragrant flowers! Pinch seedlings back to the third set of leaves on the stem.

Support Peonies

The beautiful, large flowers of the peony can cause problems if the heavy blooms aren't supported in some way. The flowers end up on the ground, covered in mud and with broken stems. Now is the time, before the buds get too big or the flowers open, to support them in any way that suits your fancy. You can purchase decorative or plain wire hoops, or you can fashion your own out of simple stakes and string surrounding the plant, or even using small tree branches to prop them up for a more natural look. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it! If you do it now, the leaves will grow through it and cover the support so you won't even see it. You don't want to have any of those gorgeous, queens of the spring garden languishing in the mud!

Pot Up Dahlias

If you are growing Dahlias this year (and I think everyone should grow at least one!), pot it up now, temporarily, for earlier bloom in the garden. Plant the tuber in a one gallon nursery pot, in ordinary, slightly moist potting soil. Set it in a warm place and DO NOT water it until you see leaves sprouting. After it sprouts, place in a very sunny window, water thoroughly once a week and watch it grow! Plant out in the garden after the 1st of June when the ground is very warm. They may rot, if the ground is too cold. But beware! Like I've told you before, Dahlias can be terribly addictive, so watch out! You may end up with hundreds, like I have!!

Now, let's get busy!

If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!

~Lee Ann~

Valmont Valley Farm

Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom

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