Mid-Atlantic

July, 2004
Regional Report

Check Spray Residues

If you have sprayed your vegetables, even with organic or natural or botanical products, be sure to read and follow the directions on the product label as to potential toxicity and any necessary waiting time before harvest. Also make it a routine to wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking or eating, whether or not you have sprayed anything.

Scout it Out!

Garden scouting is an important part of gardening, and a basic step in integrated pest management. Early detection of a pest or disease allows you to monitor the severity of damage being done and gives you time to get a definite identification of the problem. Based on those facts, you will be able to decide if it needs to be treated (and research how best to do that) or if it can simply be tolerated.

Caring for Hand Tools

Make tool maintenance a habit. Keep your tools clean, learn how to sharpen them when needed, and oil them regularly to stop rust and keep moving parts working smoothly. Store your tools in a dry location and in an orderly way so you can find them easily when needed. Paint the handles a bright color if you tend to lose them outside.

Checking Mowers

If your lawn looks dull gray or has browned, ragged tips after mowing, check your mower blades to make sure they are sharp and cutting cleanly. Also check your mowing height; midsummer lawns are usually cut a bit higher (3 inches) to help the grass shade its roots to fight heat and drought.

Making Better Bouquets

Cut flowers last longer if cut early in the day when they are most perky. Take a container of water to the garden so you can plunge the stems into water immediately. Use sharp scissors, shears, or a knife, and cut on a slanted angle to expose more cut stem surface to the water. Bring your harvest into a cool area out of direct sun as soon as possible. A floral preservative added to the vase also helps.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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