Mid-Atlantic

July, 2004
Regional Report

Protect Melons

Slip an old roofing shingle or floor tile under each melon. This will help prevent insects from tunneling up into it from the ground. If raccoons and other critters eat or ruin your melons, cage individual melons with chicken wire.

Avoid Watery, Split Tomatoes

If your tomatoes taste extra bland and watery it is because they have been overwatered. Overwatering can also cause them to split. Tomatoes like an evenly moist soil -- but not a sopping wet, saturated soil. If it has been raining, you may not need to water. Watering is only done to supplement rain if needed. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is damp, do not water.

Dealing With White Clover in Lawns

We mostly notice white clover in the lawn when it blooms. I like the fluffy look of it, but many people consider it an aberration. Clover thrives in poor soil that is low in nitrogen, as a corollary the lawn grass is usually thin there due to lack of nutrients. The best way to slow clover is to beef up your lawn. Be sure to run soil tests and fertilize accordingly this fall. Meanwhile, mow regularly with a mulching blade to return nutrients to the soil.

Fertilize Water Lilies and Lotus

Water lilies and water lotus are heavy feeders. Fertilize regularly with the purpose-made tablets or with ordinary all purpose granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 folded inside several layers of paper towel. Plunge the tablet or tiny packet into the soil and cover. Also, deadhead promptly to encourage more blooms.

Plant More Veggies

It\'s too hot now for spring crops but it\'s not too late to plant quick maturing zucchinis, bush beans, or Swiss chard to harvest this summer. You could experiment with heat-loving okra, too. There\'s still time to root some tip cuttings from your tomato plants to transplant later this summer. Also plant some basil seeds for a tasty garnish with your summer bounty.

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