New England

September, 2004
Regional Report

Hasten the Harvest

Now\'s the time to be realistic about which plants have time to ripen their fruits before frost. To encourage plants to devote their energy to the melons, squash, and tomatoes currently growing, pinch off the ends of vines and any excess flowers that don\'t stand a chance of maturing. Also pinch off the tops of brussels sprouts.

Plant Cover Crops

On bare areas of the garden, sow seed of annual rye or another cover crop that will compete with weeds, prevent erosion, and provide organic matter to the soil when it's tilled in, either in late fall or early spring.

Let Rose Hips Form

To help roses begin hardening off for winter, reduce your cutting to leave some flowers on the plants to form rose hips. This signals the plant that the growing season is winding down.

Clear Out Weeds

Don't let weeds go into fall dispersing seed all over your garden. It's time for a last ditch effort to pull or mow weeds. It's not even too late to spread mulch in the vegetable garden to smother weeds. Spread damp newspapers and top with hay or straw. Then in spring you can till it all under to add organic matter. Hay contains more nutrients than straw but it also contains some weed seeds.

Preserve Herbs

Harvest herbs in small batches and freeze or dry them for winter use. Plan to make pesto once a week rather than waiting until the night before a hard frost to pull up all your plants.

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