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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for July

July, the most patriotic month of the year.

Although this past year has had the lockdown, perhaps this July 4th will mark our “getting back to normal” time. I personally feel so patriotic I could bleed red, white and blue. I have a patriotic pot garden in my back yard with huge red geraniums, white vinca, white petunias, and blue salvia.

So Happy Independence Day.

Perhaps you have noticed that plants in the big box stores and nurseries are much more expensive than pre-pandemic. Of course we can sow seeds, such as zinnias, and cleome this time of year. But cloning or rooting is another option. So here is a list of plants that I have rooted in water and/or moist soil in empty flats or trays that I had on hand:

1. Dusty Miller

2. Dragon Wing Begonias

3. geraniums

4. plumbago

5. petunias

6. Kalanchoes

7. Coleus

8. Impatiens

9. Sedum

10. Lantana.

There are many more, but these were plants I had, so just tried these.

Did you know that apple cider vinegar might be just what the doctor ordered to keep your plants pest free and to help them to thrive. I watch YouTube at times on gardening topics and then try these tips in my garden. I am amazed at the great uses for apple cider vinegar and will share my experiences with you. Apple cider vinegar can be used as follows:

1. Fertilizer – this is great for acid soil loving plants. Dilution ratio is 1:3 and then spray onto the soil around the plant. Do not spray the leaves of flowers but tomato plants would be okay.

2. Cleaning agent for garden tools to sterilize them after use in the garden. Even rusty trowels can be soaked overnight in a pail and rust just disappears. We have learned how important to clean our hands during this pandemic, and the same is true for the garden.

3. Eliminates weeds from cracks in sidewalks or driveways. Just spray these directly with undiluted vinegar but avoid spraying any plants.

4. Discourages pets and other animals from entering the garden. They do like the odor. You will need to soak rags with vinegar and place them strategically around the periphery of the beds. You will need to reapply the vinegar each week.

5. Kills slugs and snails almost immediately. Also it will kill ants outside and in the home. Just spray with a dilution rate of 1:3. This trick prevents any bug spray poison on counter tops.

6. Kills mold and residue from clay pots.

7. Eliminates aphids and other chewing pests. Use a light dilution of vinegar to water, such as a tablespoon to a quart of water and begin spraying.

PLANT OF THE MONTH – MONARDA (Lamiaceae,) Monarda is a member of the Mint family of plants. Its common name is Bee Balm, or bergamot and it is an herb, very easy to grow. The leaves of this plant are used in commercial teas such as Earl Gray Tea.

Another feature of the plant is that is has a square stem. A summer bloomer, it has a variety of bright colors from red to violet to bright pink. If you want to attract hummingbirds, Monarda fits the bill.

Happy Fourth of July and Good Gardening!


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