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ELAINE CERNY: MY GARDEN PATH — Dog days?

| August 16, 2020 1:00 AM

I’m not sure why, but they call this the “dog days of summer.” I asked my dog about it, but she just gave me that look. You know the one … I am pretty sure it means something like, “wha cha talkin’ ‘bout, Willis.”

The cool weather was a welcome change after the scorching 90s and even a couple of 100s. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just request a whole month with nothing but 80-degree days?

If you’re feeling ambitious, now is the time to replant some of those garden veggies. If you start them now, they’ll be ready to eat this fall, before cold weather shows its ugly face. Besides lettuce, there are others that will work. These include: radishes, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, beans, pumpkins and beets.

Lettuce need to be tricked into sprouting as they don’t like warm soil. You can easily start them in the house and then transplant them.

The long awaited dahlias are finally blooming. Luckily, they are worth the wait as nothing else puts on a show like these huge blossoms. Keep them well-watered and fed, and they’ll continue right up until frost.

My raspberry patch just about outdid itself this year. I literally picked berries for weeks. They were big and juicy, so it was worth the effort. Luckily, they freeze easily if and when you run out of friends to give them to. They’ll be a treat to enjoy next winter.

If you didn’t get all those irises dug and replanted, you’re running out of time. Irises sit practically on top of the ground, so they need enough time to get well-rooted before summer is over.

Continue being diligent about deadheading. This just means clipping off the spent flowers before they get a chance to develop seeds. Once they do that, their work is done and they won’t bother creating any more blooms. Bummer, I know.

Most petunias are getting leggy by this time. If so, just cut them back about halfway. Then give them a dose of fertilizer and a good drink. This should get them going again and they’ll continue to bloom, usually until October.

The lilies have really been outdoing themselves lately. This is the normal time of year for Easter lilies to bloom. Those grown in greenhouses are tricked into blooming in spring by adjusting the amount of light they get each day.

So far, the raccoons haven’t made another visit to our yard. Whew. If we didn’t have a little dog, I wouldn’t mind seeing them, but I’m afraid she’d try to run them off and they could easily kill her.

I recently read a scary statistic which said that it’s a proven fact: we’re never more than 10 feet from a spider, indoors or out!

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Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently an active member of the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column has appeared in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October for the past 12 years.