New England

August, 2004
Regional Report

Encourage Blooms on Christmas Cactus

To initiate blooms on your Christmas cactus, move it outside now into dappled sunlight or where it will receive only morning sun. Move it indoors before frost or in late September.

Make Notes to Guide You Next Year

Make notes of where plants have become overcrowded to help you remember what needs to be moved where next spring. Note any sun-loving plants that are now too shaded and spots where water puddles that need to be amended to improve drainage. Take photos of problem areas so you can work on solutions over the winter.

Plant Cover Crops

As you remove spent plants from your garden beds, sow a cover crop such as winter rye. This will help reduce weed infestation, minimize erosion and compaction from fall rains, and will add nutrients and organic matter to the soil when it is tilled under next spring.

Prepare Annuals for Overwintering Indoors

Take cuttings of favorite geraniums, coleus, begonias, and any other annual flowers that you want to overwinter for replanting next year. You can also bring these plants indoors for the winter if you have a sunny spot. Several popular bedding plants are perennial in warm climates and can be brought indoors as houseplants if you don\'t wait until the weather gets too cool. This can set them back and make it hard for them to recover. Gradually move the plants into shadier locations so they are better adjusted to the reduced light levels when you move them indoors.

Harvest Onions

Begin harvesting onions when about half to three quarters of the leaves have died back. Then gently dig or pull the onions and store them in a dry, shady place with good ventilation, such as an outdoor shed or barn, for 10 days to 2 weeks. After the onions have cured, put them in slatted crates or mesh bags and store them indoors in a basement with low humidity and temperatures between 33 and 45 degrees F.

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