Lower South

August, 2012
Regional Report

Tool or Gardening Product

Rain Switch
Have you ever driven down the street and seen irrigation systems watering during or immediately after a rainstorm? If you have an automatic irrigation system, adding a rain switch is a simple, easy, economical, and commonsense way to avoid wasting water. This device attaches to a post or the eaves of your home near where your irrigation control box is located. Rain causes a disc inside the gadget to swell, pushing a switch that prevents the irrigation from coming on even when the controller is cycling. After a few days of drying the disc shrinks and the irrigation cycles start to water their various zones once again.

Clever Gardening Technique

When to Harvest Melons
Gardeners often wonder how to tell when their muskmelons (cantaloupes) and watermelons are ready for harvesting. Here are some tips to help determine the best time to pick the fruit. Muskmelons start to separate from the vine at the point of attachment. When fully ripe the point of attachment there will be a crack or separation about three fourths around the point where the vine attaches to the "belly button" on the fruit. Watermelons have a "ground spot" where the melon rests on the soil that is normally light green to white in most cultivars. When ripe this spot area turns to a more creamy color. Also the curly tendril right across from where the melon attaches to the vine will dry up.

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