Mid-Atlantic

July, 2005
Regional Report

Watering Right

Dry weather and new plants mean you may need to water. To check, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is damp, don't water yet. When you water, water thoroughly so it soaks down deep to encourage deep rooting. It is better to water deeply less often than to sprinkle lightly every day.

Mulching

Mulch is used to help keep the soil evenly moist, and it helps hold down weeds. Using a natural mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, straw, or chopped leaves, for example, also feeds the soil slowly over time as it decomposes. Mulch in a flat layer about 2 to 3 inches thick; don't allow it to touch the stem or trunk of your plants.

Be Patient With Blossom Drop

Tomatoes will drop their blossoms when daytime temperatures are too high (above about 90 degrees F) or nights are too warm (or too cold). Once the weather cools off, the plants will start setting fruit again. Overfertilizing with nitrogen also can cause blossom drop, so follow label directions and take care not to overfeed your plants.

Preventing Blossom End Rot

Maintain steady soil moisture levels through correct watering to help prevent blossom end rot on your tomatoes -- where the bottom of the fruit turns black and rotten. Try to keep the soil evenly moist but not sopping wet, and don't let it fluctuate between very dry and very wet.

Caring for Daylilies

To maximize bloom performance, give daylilies an evenly moist but well-drained soil, deadhead the spent flowers daily (they only last one day), and then remove the long stem when all of the buds have bloomed to keep your plant looking tidy.

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