Mid-Atlantic

August, 2006
Regional Report

Enjoy Garden Conservancy's Open Days

What an opportunity to visit rarely open private gardens in New York and New Jersey while helping to preserve garden treasures nationwide! In August and September, take advantage of The Garden Conservancy's Open Days in Bergen, West Chester, Putnam, Middlesex, Columbia, Dutchess, West Chester, and Nassau counties. Each $5 contribution per garden supports gems such as The Elizabeth Lawrence Garden, Van Vleck House & Gardens, and the Morven Museum and Gardens. Vist the Garden Conservancy Web site (http://www.gardenconservancy.org/opendays.html) for details.

Final Rose Fertilization

For repeat-blooming roses, feed them for the last time by July 15 in northern climes; August 15 for zone 6 and warmer. Fertilizing later will result in tender, new shoots easily damaged come winter freeze. Cornell University's fact sheet recommends preparing roses for dormancy by allowing the last flower on each stem to set seed. That will trigger the rose's physiological preparation for winter.

Sow Seeds for Fall Leafy Veggies

Cool weather greens such as kale, lettuce, spinach, mache, Swiss chard, collards, Oriental, mustard will sprout quickly in the warm soil. By late August and early September, temps will drop -- just right for good growth and harvest. Stagger sowing times over several weeks. That way in October/November when frost threatens, you'll have extra plants to protect with a floating row cover (polyester or polypropylene) that extends harvest despite cold spells.

Plant Winter Veggies for Spring

Slip in some winter-hardy broccoli such as the purple-sprouting variety, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower seedlings; next spring their florets will be sweet and tender. Sow root crops such as beet and carrot seeds for spring harvest. Leave them in the ground over winter; be sure to mulch with straw or pine needles for freeze/thaw protection.

Scope Late-Season Sales

Garden centers, nurseries, and mail order garden supply businesses have summer inventory to move -- at deep discounts. I'm stocking up on plant stakes, Remay plant cover, and multitaps to connect two or more hoses to faucets for use now, this fall, and next season. Am also keeping an eye out for large decorative containers that won't bust the budget. At sale prices, they can be affordable in sets of twos or threes for the designer look.

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