Mid-Atlantic

August, 2003
Regional Report

Dried Flowers

Some flowers that may be dried by hanging upside down in a dark, dry, airy location include hydrangea, statice, strawflower, larkspur and gomphrena. Cut the flowers in the morning after the dew has dried. Bundle a few stems together using a rubber band, and hang so the bunches do not touch. Cut strawflowers and gomphrena when they are only partway open to prevent them shattering later.

Visit a County Fair

Have you been to a county fair lately? It's more than pickles! You might be surprised at the variety of exhibits and activities, both old and new. Indulge in locally produced tasty treats and wander around the fair, relax, and enjoy the day. Some fairs offer midways, ferris wheels, and tractor pulls, not to mention parades of show animals, giant pumpkin contests, popular live entertainment shows, petting zoos, prizewinning displays, and a multitude of commercial, educational, and community-oriented exhibits -- absolutely something for everyone.

Sunflower Seeds

Ward off hungry birds by using cheesecloth or panty hose to cover sunflower heads. Cut off the seedhead (keep a generous foot long stem attached) when it is completely dry and brown on the back. Hang it in a dry, airy place to finish drying, at which point the seeds will pop out easily.

Check Melons

When ready to pick, cantaloupes should slip off the vine in your hand, watermelons should thump, lose their sheen, and be buttery yellow on the underside, honeydews should smell ripe like melon. To protect nearly-ripe melons from all kinds of pesky varmints , enclose the melon inside a wire mesh cage.

Caring for Compost

Water your compost pile if the weather stays dry. Compost needs to be evenly moist like a wrung out sponge-- not sopping wet, but not dry either. To conserve moisture, you can cover it with a tarp. This also keeps weed seeds from blowing into your compost. Remember to remix the materials periodically for faster results.

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