Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2003
Regional Report

Don't Forget to Dry Herbs

Don't leave herb harvesting until the day before the first frost. Harvest before they bloom if possible, and do it early in the day before the sun heats them up. This will give you the most intense oil. Dry quickly in an airy, warm spot to avoid molding.

Use a Wicking System to Water Plants During Vacation

Simply stuff the end of a 6-inch piece of cotton twine or rope into the drainage hole of the pot and then drape the other end of it in a reservoir of water, such as a plastic tub. Natural wicking action draws water up into the pot.

Don't Throw Away That Old Wicker Laundry Basket

Use it to haul tools and stuff out to the garden and then to haul garden waste back to the compost pile. They also make great baskets to haul produce back to the house. You can even leave root crops such as beets and carrots in it while you wash them.

Use Old Tapes to Deter Birds

Recycle tapes (cassette, reel-to-reel, video) by using them as a bird deterrent. String them around seedlings and fruits you want to protect. When the wind blows across the tape, it hums and frightens the birds away. Unfortunately, it doesn't work as well with the larger critters like rabbits, woodchucks, and deer.

Remember to Save Seeds

Do some research to find out which plants come true from seeds (tomatoes and peppers do, melons and cucumbers don't). Be sure to harvest seeds from healthy fruits, and after properly curing the seeds, store them in airtight jars in a cool, dry place or in the freezer.

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