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Grow with KARE: Keep your summer containers thriving

It's midway through the season and time for a thorough check up on your container gardens.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — We talked about container gardening a lot at the start of the season and now it's time for a thorough checkup on those containers.

the only way to see what's going on is to really get in, poke around and see what's growing.

If you have anything that's dead , pull it out and replace it with a new plant. A lot of flower and vegetables are on sale at the garden centers now so take advantage of a good price! And there's still plenty of season left for those newbies to grow and settle in.

I saw some holes on the leaves of my pepper plant, but whatever made them has seemed to move on so I'm not worried. But if you do see bugs on the leaves, either spray them with a biodegradable soap solution or simply hose them off with plain water. 

Pick away the dead leaves or flowers to spruce up the pots. When you do deadhead (pick off) the flowers make sure you are pinching them off at the stem and not just plucking the blooms off. This will send a message to the plant to produce more blooms.

Adding an organic fertilizer with a high middle number will also encourage more blooms and fruit. Organic fertilizers are slow release to last the rest of the summer season. They promote healthy plants from the soil up, rather than just a quick burst of nutrients that doesn't stick with the plant.

And of course, keep watering! Water in the morning and direct the water to the soil, not the plants leaves. Watering only the soil will help keep fungus at bay. Add enough water that extra drips out the bottom of the container, assuming you have drainage holes in the bottom. This will encourage the roots to extend all the way to the bottom of the pot and your plant can thrive.

Happy gardening!

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