This Week in the Demonstration Garden At Ida Lee

2009 July 18
by Linda

This week at Demonstration Garden at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg the Master Gardeners are making sure that the watering system is working properly. We have had a very dry few weeks and the garden needs supplemental water. Please check your garden and make sure that your vegetable and flowers are getting about 1 inch per week. You can do this by setting out cans or containers when you water and measure the amount of water that the container collects. Be sure to avoid getting water on the leaves of the plants when you are watering. Try to deliver the water right to the roots of the plants. And water for longer times at less frequent intervals. In other words, water for 30 minutes twice a week, rather than 5 minutes every day. This helps the plants develop deeper roots and then will require less watering in the future.

Tomatoes may develop “blossom end rot” because of the lack of water at this time. This is an inability of the plant to take up calcium because it needs water to do this. If you notice the bottom end of the tomato looks rotten discard that tomato and the next ones should be fine. It is usually the first tomatoes that suffer with this problem.

Also you can check out for tips on late blight that seems to be showing up in tomato plants purchased at some large stores.

The Master Gardeners have harvested the last of the peas, the first beans, first cucumbers, first blackberries, and the first artichokes. They are still harvesting beets, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and lettuces and kale.

In the vegetable garden they are weeding, staking the pepper plants, and spraying “Surround” (an organic clay) on cucumber vines, squash vines and tomatoes for insect control. The sweet potatoes vines are having to be fenced in because they are doing so well.

In the ornamental beds, everything is in full flower – very beautiful! Especially the cosmos, lady bedstraw, butterfly bush and black-eyed susans.

Now is the time to cut back your mums if you want to keep them from flopping over after they bloom. This keeps them smaller and tidier but delays the blooms.

Remember to “dead-head” all the flowers that are past  their prime if you want to keep you plants flowering.

If you have any problems, please feel free to give the Master Gardener Help Desk a call at 703-771-5150, or email at

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