As the summer solstice approaches with the long days of summer, growth of the vegetable garden and the weeds is prolific. Besides hoeing and pulling weeds, newspaper used as a mulch as well as corn gluten will inhibit the weed growth that will easily take over a garden quickly.

In Avon, Ohio the large wholesale nursery called Willoway Nurseries uses rice hulls as a mulch on top of their container-grown plants which does an excellent job of inhibiting weeds. A few years ago, Willoway had significant problems with production as many plants were stunted and yellow from a chemical herbicide toxicity which effected their switch to the non-chemical rice hulls.

At the nursery here, coco weed discs are employed that eliminate the use of chemicals for weed control. These discs fit right into our program of sustainable, environmentally friendly growing practices and prevents a buildup of herbicide residue in our recycled irrigation water.

Soon it will be time to pot the small azaleas into 1½ gallon pots for next spring’s sales and future larger plants. These plants too would be treated with coco discs preventing any toxicity from herbicide use that sometimes would occur.

Hopefully the ideal wish of one inch of rain per week will occur over the summer instead of the hot, dry summer of last year. How sad it will be for some of the television weather folks if needed rain fails on a weekend to spoil someone’s barbecue! They will have to learn to live with the consequences.