FARGO — There’s a treasured old truism in gardening: “Plants take time to grow, so be patient. And while you’re waiting, pull out some weeds.
Midsummer is filled with fascinating gardening observations and fun facts that can increase our gardening success. Here are some of my favorites:
Squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers and melons produce separate male and female flowers on the same plant. Female flowers can be identified by the miniature fruit at the base of the flower which expands when pollination is complete. The first flowers are often all male, and fruits do not form until the plant also produces female flowers.
Daylilies are not true lilies, as they grow from thickened roots instead of bulbs. True lilies, like the Easter lily, grow from bulbs.
Tomato flowers are pollinated primarily by the wind, so fruits can form even in the absence of pollinating insects.
Potato flowers can be white or lavender, depending on the cultivar. This doesn’t always happen, but if pollination is complete, clusters of green ball-shaped, seed-bearing fruit form at the top of the potato plant.
Elm seeds can germinate as soon as they fall, becoming weeds in flower beds and landscapes. Oak acorns, on the other hand, require a cold wintering treatment before they germinate.
If your back is tired from bending over to pick green beans, plant green beans instead. A supporting fence is required, but the beans are raised to a height that is much easier to harvest.
A clear plastic mulch, placed on the ground at planting, hastens the ripening of muskmelon and watermelon by warming the soil and retaining moisture.
Fallen evergreen needles do not make the soil acidic. Although the needles themselves are often slightly acidic, their acidity is neutralized when microbes break down the needles. If other plants have trouble establishing themselves under evergreens, it’s because shallow-rooted evergreens suck up moisture and nutrients from the soil, not because the soil has become acidic.
Apple trees need five to seven years to reach fruit-bearing age, depending on the cultivar. If apples form on a tree before this prescribed production age, the fruits should be removed when small. Allowing apples to mature on a tree that is not ready to bear diverts valuable energy from the structural development of the young tree.
Apple trees have a definite practical lifespan in the Upper Midwest. While there are certainly exceptions, 25 to 40 years is an average productive lifespan before various diseases cause dead wood, trunk problems, branch dieback, and eventual death.
Fire blight disease is most apparent in many communities this year in apple, ornamental crab and pear trees. Disease-causing bacteria can enter trees through the blossoms, and with our cool, wet spring, the blossoms of these trees have remained open longer, providing a longer window of opportunity for bacteria to enter the trees. flowers. Symptoms include burnt and scorched looking leaves and twigs, with growth of the tips often curled in a “shepherd’s crook” shape.
If you want larger onions, start with plants instead of dry “sets”. Bunches of onion plants can be purchased at garden centers in the spring, or you can start your own onion transplants from seed sown indoors in February.
Carrots are a challenge for many gardeners. The seeds are tiny, they are sown shallow, and it is difficult to keep the soil surface moist and free of crust while the fragile seedlings emerge. For better emergence, apply a light layer of moistened peat or compost to the row. The elders often laid a board over the row and removed it as soon as the tiny seedlings emerged from the surface of the soil.
A plant of purslane, which is a common garden weed, can produce 240,000 seeds capable of being shot 25 feet away and capable of remaining viable in the ground for 40 years. They can also regenerate from stem sections that fall to the ground.
Weeds are much easier to pull out after a rain.
Cardboard sheets, stacked together, can be an effective underlay for weed control when using shredded bark or wood chips.
Don Kinzler, a longtime gardener, is the North Dakota State University Extension Horticulturist for Cass County. Readers can reach him at email@example.com.