Deadhead plants for more flowers. Also, perennials that do not have to produce seeds will have more energy for next year's growth.
Eliminate mosquito habitat such as containers that collect water, including plant saucers. Change bird bath water weekly and add mosquito eating fish or chemical controls to ponds.
Mosquitoes are most active in the hour just after sunrise and before sunset. Repellents containing DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, or cedar oil are effective.
Mow your lawn high to conserve moisture, about 2 1/2 inches or so. Lawns will need about 2 inches of water per week to stay green. Make sure you are not watering concrete or sending water into the street.
Park your car on the lawn to wash it. Use biodegradable soap — citrus oil soaps will cut the grease. Don't park it under or close to trees. The weight of the car will compress the soil and damage roots.
Other ways to cut down on moisture loss is to use a mulching blade on your mower, feed the grass, collect and compost, or simply place between rows in your vegetable garden. Stay away from fertilizers during hot dry spells.
Kitchen & Orchard
Pick vegetables as they ripen, so plants keep producing all summer. Beans, zucchini and tomatoes will benefit. Potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines begin to yellow.
Fertilize crops mid-season. They are using lots of energy producing food, and need the boost. Sprinkle organic fertilizer to the side of the plant and scratch in with a cultivator, then water deeply. Organic fertilizer does not burn the plant roots.
Mid-July is time to start vegetables for fall including the favorites broccoli and kale. Beets, carrots, peas, and kale can be planted with seeds. Water faithfully, and keep seeds moist by using a floating row cover. Shade cloth can help to protect starts until their root systems develop.
Learn about gardens at North Mountain Park in a tour of their butterfly, amphibian-reptile Gardens, native plant, herb and heirloom gardens. Tour starts at 9:30 a.m., July 16 and 26, at 9:30 a.m. Must be at least age 10 to participate. Register online at http://ashlandparks.recware.com or call the Nature Center at 488-6606.
Or tour Lithia Park, where, rain or shine, trained volunteer naturalists lead an easy, interesting 1.5-hour nature walk Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays until Sept. 28. Topics include: Trees, flowers, birds, climate, water, geology, and the history of the park. Meet at the park entrance, across from the Plaza in Ashland at 10 a.m. For more information call 541-552-2266.
Learn basic composting from Master Gardener Denny Morelli in a class sponsored by the City of Ashland Conservation Commission. Receive a free compost bin (one per household) and some great information. Offered 10 to noon, July 12; no pre-registration required. For more information call 541-482-1471.