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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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August garden tips & tasks

It’s hot, so get out early in the day for these mid-summer garden tips and tasks:

Early in the month

summer flowersContinue deadheading summer-flowering perennials and annuals, cutting off the spent flowers to encourage the plants to keep blooming. Be sure to cut fresh flowers, too, to enjoy in bouquets indoors.

Nothing’s more frustrating that finding that birds have poked holes in your prized tomatoes. To discourage pecking, pick tomatoes before they are fully red and let them ripen indoors.

Petunias may start to look ragged. Cut them back and fertilize lightly, and they should soon rebound with fresh blooms.

Continue to watch for Japanese beetles, which are attracted to many of your favorite ornamentals. Pick off any you find on your prized plants, and plunk them into a bowl of soapy water.

Depending on your hardiness zone, you may be able to plant seeds of fast-growing bush beans to provide a late harvest of beans this fall. Check the “Days to maturity” note on the seed packet.

Reduce the mosquito population by regularly emptying everything that collects water. Change the water in birdbaths every day or so. Use natural mosquito control products in ponds and rain barrels.

Mid-August

There’s a saying: One year of seeds; seven years of weeds. If you can’t dig out the weeds frequently enough, at least cut the tops to keep them from flowering and setting seed.

SquashBegin gathering seeds of your favorite annuals or vegetables to plant next year. Dry seeds thoroughly, package, label and date them, and store them in a place that’s cool and dry.

Continue to harvest and use basil frequently to keep the plant from setting seed too early.

Summer vegetables – tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, summer squash, peppers — will continue producing if you harvest regularly. Okra, especially, should be picked every day or so, before the small tender pods grow large and tough.

If the weather is hot and dry, watch for spider mites on roses. They thrive in these conditions and can quickly defoliate a rosebush. A strong spray of water on the undersides of the leaves every two or three days for a week should help keep them under control.

Later this month

Parsley curledSome summer herbs can be frozen to use later. Try freezing fresh sprigs of parsley, oregano, sage, tarragon and dill. Rinse the herbs and pat them dry, then place them in separate freezer bags or containers with tight-fitting lids. Use them within four months.

Provide ample water if it doesn’t rain. It’s still hot, and you may need to water frequently. In fact, you may need to douse container gardens every day.

Keep vegetable beds clean of dead or dying foliage and rotting vegetables. A tidy garden bed means fewer places for destructive insects to overwinter.

Avoid planting new trees and shrubs in the hottest part of summer. Be sure that trees, shrubs and perennials planted this spring are receiving enough water during long hot spells.

Begin planting a cool season kitchen garden — spinach, greens, kale, lettuces and other favorites. Keep beds or containers watered as seeds sprout, and watch for late-summer insect pests.

 

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