New England

August, 2005
Regional Report

Rejuvenate Dry Container Gardens

If you come home to a dried-out container planting, don't despair. Some plants will wilt dramatically, but come back once moistened. If the water you add from the top pours right through, place the entire container in a saucer or tray of water and let the water soak into the soil from below. If it's still hot and sunny out, place the plant in a shady, cool spot for a few days. Remove damaged foliage and see if it develops new growth.

Harvest and Freeze Berries

Even if you can't eat them all right now, take advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and berries. Freezer jams are surprisingly easy to make, and even regular "canned" jam is pretty straightforward and makes a great gift. At the very least, freeze some berries for later use; simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer; once they've frozen, pour them into freezer bags and seal.

Collect Seeds

Collect seeds from early-maturing plants, such as columbines and lupines, and either replant immediately or place in jars for storage. You can also allow the plants to drop their seeds naturally, then move the transplants next spring. When sweet peas fizzle out, allow them to set seedpods and harvest the seeds for planting next year.

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 cellar with low humidity and temperatures between 33 and 45 degrees F.

Sow Late Crops

You still have time to sow fast-maturing vegetables for a fall crop. Lettuce and other greens, beets, and radishes are good choices. To lengthen the growing season, construct a mini hoop house. Place metal hoops over garden beds and cover with fabric row covers to extend the growing season well into fall.

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