August 4, 2013

Maine Gardener: Getting impatiens? You're not alone


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The prediction of impatiens succumbing to downy mildew this year happily did not prove to be accurate.

We had some success with our cold frame. We got lettuce in early June, but the carrots got eaten by a woodchuck shortly after I removed the cold frame. A neighbor got zucchini in June because he started it in a cold frame, so maybe I should try that next year.

We had produced six Jasper tomatoes by the third week of July. So far, they have been as advertised, with no disease or cracking of the cherry-sized fruit.

Other tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash all look healthy. The watermelon seeds I direct-planted did not come up, so we will have to go without watermelon this year. The pole beans that I planted on a copper trellis I built from pipes left from a construction project are looking good, and even have a few blossoms.

Flowers have been early and, for the most part, wonderful. Our echinacea and cimicifuga have been beautiful, and showed up in mid-July. Day lilies have been prolific and gorgeous, filling our yard with color throughout July. All types of hydrangeas started blooming early, and are still looking healthy and beautiful.

Although July got dry for a couple of weeks, because of all the rain early on, we have not had to water yet -- except for pots, and we had plenty in our rain barrels to take care of that.

The wet weather has resulted in a bountiful crop of weeds. Clover, chickweed, dock, witch grass and the previously mentioned jewel weed are thriving, and would take over the gardens if we let them. It is taking longer to weed than I can ever remember.

Despite all of that, I am looking forward to the next three months in our yard.

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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