Summer is Here!

Summer has arrived! June is the month of plenty! I almost have more flowers than I know what to do with! June is the magical time of year when summer flowers and spring flowers are in full bloom! There is abundance and variety! Zinnias are alongside snapdragons and sunflowers alongside bachelor buttons.  Canterbury Bells have come and gone and sunflowers will soon be sown in their place. The flowers need to be picked at least twice a week to continue looking their best. 

Gardening Tip of the Month

Use Mulch!
Maybe everyone knows this and it isn’t much of a tip but it is essential for gardening success.  Mulch decreases weeds and increases the soil’s moisture. It keeps the plant roots cool and happy in the heat of the summer.  I chose this top specifically because I learn everything the hard way. Last spring, I spent hours upon hours laying landscape fabric. This year I decided it wasn’t to my advantage to lay all of that fabric. Well the heat has hit and the weeds are flourishing and I’m second guessing my decision!  So I thought I’d talk about the different mulches that are available and their pros and cons.  There’s landscape fabric, plastic mulch, wood mulch, straw, grass clippings, and leaves.
Landscape fabric is very good at suppressing weeds but involves a bit of time to lay, cut or burn holes into and, if it’s an annual, to tear up and store.  Some form of drip irrigation is also needed for most landscape fabrics. For my operation I find landscape fabric most useful in perennial beds that don’t need to be replanted every year or multiple times a year.  Plastic mulches are primarily used by professional growers that have a tractor and bed-shaper that lays the mulch and drip tape while tilling and shaping the beds.  Plastic mulch does come in a biodegradable option that is more environmentally friendly, but it only lasts one growing season.
Wood mulch is also very good at suppressing weeds. I also find wood mulch most beneficial in perennial beds or landscaped beds. However, my annual cut flower rows need something else.  They are tilled, amended, planted, and tilled, amended and planted again. Once one crop is about finished another goes in.  This maximizes the number of flower stems I can cut in my relatively small growing space.  So I need mulch that is easily tilled into the soil that will add organic matter and not greatly affect the available nutrients.  Wood mulches break down slowly and could bind up the available nitrogen in the soil.  Straw has been used for ages by farmers and gardeners to reduce weeds. It breaks down quickly and is easily tilled into the soil.  Grass clippings are readily available if you have a way of collecting them, their downfall is that there are often weed seeds that are mixed in unless they come from an extremely well manicured lawn.  Last are tree leaves.  If you have shade trees, leaves are readily available, have minimal amounts of weed seeds, and work well.  The only thing that I keep in mind is that certain leaves (like oak leaves) can be very acidic when breaking down. This may or may not affect your plants.  This year it’s too late for me to lay fabric or plastic mulches so I will be experimenting with natural mulches to see what works best in my annual beds.

The zinnias, cosmos and dahlias are coming on strong now and will give continuous blooms until the first hard frost in October or November.
Ammi, the lacey delicate angel of the flower world, is in full bloom.  This lovely filler flower adds the perfect touch to any arrangement or wrapped bouquet. Her vase life is excellent and she is just an all-around favorite.  Daucus is like Ammi in looks, but comes in romantic shades of burgundy!

 Find Flowers

  • Every other Wednesday, I’m delivering bouquet subscriptions to Topeka and Lawrence. If you live in those areas and want flowers please contact me and I will give you more details. 
  • Thursdays, I am at the Oswego Farmer’s Market from 3pm-6pm.
  • Remnant Café in Parson, Ks has agreed to let me step up a pop-up flower stand on Fridays this summer from 7:30am-2:30pm.
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