Gardening Daily Tips July 24

Sunday July 24, 2011

Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)

Today’s Featured Plant
Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Sunburned Agapanthus

Question: I have a perennial flower bed in full sun. I am on the verge of pulling out the agapanthus because I don’t like the sunburned leaves in the summer (it gets well over 100 here in Fresno California) and the outer leaves continue to shrivel and die throughout the rest of the year. Should I transplant them to a shadier location with less sun?

Answer: Agapanthus prefers afternoon shade in hot summer areas so transplanting yours will be just the thing they need to perk up and grow into beautiful plants. You can expect them to bloom right on schedule and retain their lovely leaves once you provide them with a little protection from the hot summer sun.

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Q&A: Cucumbers Are Yellow And Bitter

Question: Most of the cucumbers on my vines are good, but sometimes I get several that are yellowish and taste bitter. What is the problem?

Answer: Bitterness is related to water stress. Cucumbers grow quickly once pollinated. If there is any water stress during this period of rapid growth, they will tend to taste bitter. To avoid stress, water the plants deeply once or twice a week, letting the water soak at least 6 inches deep into the soil, and mulch with hay or straw to conserve moisture.

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Q&A: Wilting Basil

Question: I have my basil out on my fire escape in full sun. I’ve read that herbs like soil on the drier side, so I’m careful not to overwater. However, sometimes during the day, the plant begins to wilt. Do you think I should be giving it more water?

Answer: In my experience, even though it is an herb, basil actually needs a “normal” amount of water. If the soil feels dry and the plant recovers when you water it, then it needs more water –either more frequent watering, or more thorough watering. When you apply water, soak the entire rootball, rather than just sprinkling the surface. (Be sure to allow excess water to drain away.) When the soil surface dries out, it’s time to water again. There are two other possibilities, however. One is that the plant is simply reacting to heat and perhaps wind and cannot take up water fast enough to make up for the speed at which it is transpiring. In this case, it may wilt slightly even when it has been well watered. Providing it with a bit of shade at noon or during the afternoon will help if this is the case. Another possibility is that the roots have begun to fill the container, and it needs a larger pot with more soil.

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Tip: Plant more Cool-Season Vegetables

It’s time to plant a second crop of cool season vegetables in all but the warmest parts of the country. You can plant broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants for a fall crop. Give the vegetable garden at least 1 inch of water per week during the heat of summer, and particularly during drought periods. Apply organic mulch around vegetables to maintain uniform moisture and prevent weeds.

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Tip: Remove Flowering Weeds from Garden

Remove any weeds that have begun flowering from the garden area after pulling. Some weeds will continue to develop their seeds even after you pull them. You can toss non-flowering weeds in paths or at the end of the row to decompose.

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80 Comic Strips Now Available by Email!

ArcaMax has added dozens of new comic strips to its Comics page, including Archie, Hi and Lois, and 77 others. Subscribe to as many as you like via email, and start your day with a laugh!

Visit the Comics page and subscribe or read online right away.

— From the ArcaMax editors

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