Saturday, September 19, 2020

ELAINE CERNY: MY GARDEN PATH — Lots of growing going on

| July 19, 2020 1:00 AM

This has been one crazy growing season, at least so far. We just seem to keep getting “yo-yo” weather. It’s cold, then hot, wet, then dry, etc., etc. Programming the lawn sprinklers is a lesson in futility. Whine …

On the bright side, at least there’s no snow! Stuff is blooming everywhere you look. The roses have really been putting on a nice show. I did have to spray mine recently as the aphids were having a field day on the buds.

I finally saw a butterfly in early July. I was beginning to wonder where they’d all gone. The butterfly “weeds” I’d planted last summer did make it through the winter and are in bloom. Now if only the monarchs would show up to enjoy them.

If and when you find weeds in your flowerbeds, it may be tricky to kill them without also killing the desired plants. In order to keep the noxious spray off the “good guys,” you might try this. Cut the bottom off a 2-liter soda bottle. Then place it over the nasty weed and put the head of the spray bottle into the top of the soda bottle. Spray and you should be good to go with none of the nasty stuff hitting and killing your favorite plants.

I’ve been fighting a nasty weed called black medic. This seems to work on it even if I’m not able to get the whole weed inside the soda bottle. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Sidewalk weeds are another nuisance. These can be killed in several ways. I like pouring boiling water on them. Another way to do this job is by using white vinegar. A friend gave me a recipe to try, but I haven’t yet. This recipe calls for:

• 1 gallon vinegar

• 2 cups epsom salts

• 1/3 cup Dawn dish soup

This is touted to be able to kill anything you spray it on. Can’t beat that!

Don’t panic if you see what appear to be gigantic mosquitoes. These are actually crane flies and are harmless and don’t bite. Some people call them mosquito eaters. They don’t do that either. Their sole mission in life is to deposit eggs in lawns where the tiny grubs later hatch and chew on the grass roots.

For genuine mosquito control, you’ll want to walk around your yard every few days and dump out any standing water. Remember, it only takes a few days for mosquito larvae to hatch.

As far as weeds go, remember this little ditty: “Weed ’em and reap!”

• • •

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.