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Growin’ Green

Shade Your Peppers And Tomato Fruit

By Brent Gray

Shear hedges after their first flush of growth. To maintain thick growth at the base, be sure that the hedge is wider at the bottom than it is at the top.  Otherwise, the lower branches will grow thin in the shade of the ones above.
Cut away the faded blooms of cannas, coreopsis, Stella de Oro daylilies and stokesia to ensure additional blooms.
Spider Flower
These gorgeous, but stinky annuals are also known as cleome.  These will bloom all summer and reseed everywhere.  As the season progresses, plants grow a bit leggy.  Go ahead and cut them back below all the long seed pods to the point where you see a new branch beginning to sprout. It will quickly grow back and start blooming again.  This will also help remove some of the zillion seeds this plant produces and keep you from having to weed out all the volunteer seedlings next spring.
These annual bedding plants are ideal for filling sunny bulb beds or supplying cascades of color in large containers.  The selection ‘Purple Wave’ is a durable choice, but even the hardiest petunias will need to be cut back and rejuvenated in mid to late summer to maintain constant bloom and thick growth.
Reports of pepper and tomato fruit  having large tan, dead looking areas on their side are coming in. The cloudy, cool conditions during spring have slowed the leaf growth of the plants and now the fruit is exposed to direct sunlight. The fruits are getting too hot and dying where the sunlight strikes them. Anything you can do to shade the fruit will help prevent this problem. Placing spun bonded polyester row covers  or shade cloth over the plants will often block enough light to prevent sunburned fruit. Large scale producers may want to invest in Surround, Screen Duo or other spray -on clay suspensions that put a white film on the fruit to prevent the temperatures from rising to damaging levels.
Now is the time to be starting pepper and tomato plants for the fall garden. , particularly for folks in the northern third of the state. The plants will be of traditional transplant size by mid-August. You can plant seed or take young suckers from disease free plants now in the garden.
More growers are finding white, circular patches on their blueberry leaves and fruit. This is caused by Exobasidium maculosun  fungi and develops best in wet, cool weather. Growers should remove all affected leaves and fruit from the field and destroy them.

Horticulture Tips
Lelia Kelly, David Nagel

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