"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken."
-- James Dent
Here's hoping you find your perfect summer day -- and some tips to keep your garden growing.
1. The 2014 Tomato Challenge is coming! Send pictures and your growing strategy to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Place orders for peonies, which should be planted next month.
3. Yank spent annuals and mulch soil to keep weeds at bay.
4. Fill holes in the garden with heat-loving, late-blooming Black-eyed Susan, Russian sage, Coreopsis and yarrow.
5. Give hybrid tea roses a sip of liquid seaweed to protect against heat wilt.
6. Allow tomatoes (except cherries) to ripen fully on the vine; they'll taste better.
7. To help protect against winter injury, stop pruning evergreens now.
8. Cease rose fertilizer applications until next year.
9. Resist the temptation to see how big your zucchini will grow; they're more tender and tasty when small.
10. The most important nutrient you can give plants this month is water. Water deeply and first thing in the morning.
11. Do you garden creatively in a small space? Send tips and photos to email@example.com and I may feature you.
12. Plant lettuce, radishes, spinach, peas and other cool-season crops now for a fall harvest.
13. It's safe to start relocating evergreens. Just be sure to dig up as much of their roots as possible.
14. Monitor container moisture at least once a day; potted plants need more water than garden plants.
15. Clean up fallen fruit from around trees to prevent pest infestations.
16. Got beets? Roast them in foil and saute the greens, and you'll get two side dishes from one plant.
17. Divide spring bloomers like Japanese and Siberian iris, and transplant spring-flowering bulbs that need to be relocated.
18. Renovate the lawn. Remove dead patches, aerate, apply compost and seed. Water deeply just once, then sprinkle twice a day.
19. Divide and transplant peonies, keeping eyes no more than an inch or two beneath the soil.
20. Re-edge beds. You'll be amazed at the difference it makes!
21. Divide crowded daylilies when they stop blooming.
22. Bring your biggest tomato to the Great Long Island Tomato Challenge (7 p.m. at Newsday, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville).
23. Keep on top of weeds, and be sure to get them at their roots.
24. Keep mower blades set to three inches or higher for healthy grass.
25. If you're harvesting garlic, save the biggest heads for planting this fall.
26. Place orders for spring bulbs now.
27. Repot vacationing houseplants, set them in the shade for a couple of days, then bring them indoors until next spring.
28. Expect some browning on the innermost branches of evergreens. It's normal for them to shed now.
29. Harvest onions when their tops flop over.
30. Replenish mulch, if necessary, taking care to keep it away from tree trunks.
31. Pick string beans every day, and plants will continue to produce.