GARDENER COLUMN: Enjoy July’s blooms while scouting for pests | Home & Garden


We have a mole problem in our lawn, but I tend to tolerate them, as I know they eat Japanese beetle larvae. I typically just stomp down their tunnels instead of using traps and other means of removal. Our granddaughter has a different technique. Recently when she was mowing our lawn, she noticed the ground was being actively disturbed – it was a mole. She dug it out, pick it up by its’ tail, and released him in the woods. She says her gardening services also include humane pest removal.

I haven’t discovered Japanese beetles on our patch of wild blackcap raspberries yet. I’m hoping to pick enough to make my husband a cobbler. They are just starting to ripen, so maybe the beetles are simply waiting to eat them before we can.

If you have a vegetable garden, check it daily. I’m still picking peas and watching for various insect pests. That’s how I discovered the Japanese beetles on my kale – I didn’t even know they liked kale. If you started any broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower seeds for a fall crop, transplant them into the garden. You can also plant Swiss chard. Keep an eye on your tomatoes—water regularly and deeply to help prevent blossom end rot and replenish mulch to help retain moisture. Keep pruning your indeterminate varieties of tomatoes. If you prune determinate varieties—other than the leaves that touch the soil, you can reduce the harvest. Indeterminate varieties grow and put on blooms all season. They produce fruit along the stem. Examples include, Pink Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Sun Gold and Sunrise Bumble Bee. Determinate variety reach a certain height and then stop their shoot production once flowers form on the shoot ends. Examples include, Celebrity, Patio Choice Yellow, Martino’s Roma, and Bush Early Girl. Prune out the suckers to improve airflow and reduce disease, get bigger fruit, and enjoy earlier ripening. The Sauk County Master Gardeners will be discussing how to care for your tomatoes to prevent disease and demonstrating how to prune them at 2 p.m. Friday at the Sauk County Fair FAME stage in the Commercial Building. We’re also presenting on how to attract pollinators to your garden at 2 p.m. Saturday and managing invasive garden weeds at 2 p.m. Sunday. During those presentations, we’ll have our new book on sale, “Sauk County Gardener.” It’s a compilation of 16 plus years’ worth of articles written by Phyllis Both, former Horticulture Extension educator for Sauk County and the original columnist of the Sauk County Gardener. I hope you stop by to watch our demonstrations and learn about the Sauk County Master Gardener’s Association.

For more information or gardening questions, the University of Wisconsin Madison Division of Extension Sauk County office at 608-355-3250 or email [email protected]

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