New England

August, 2006
Regional Report

Let Roses Form Hips

Much as we'd like to keep cutting, our roses will be better off if we leave them alone now. Allowing the fruits or hips to form on the plant signals that it's time to harden off for winter. Plus, any pruning that we do now (cutting long flowering stems is a form of pruning) can encourage new growth, which is very susceptible to cold damage.

Remove Flowers on Melons

There's scant time for new melons to develop so remove the flowers to allow the plants to direct their energy to ripening the already formed fruit.

Clip Seedpods

To multiply hollyhocks, lupines, black-eyed Susans, echinacea, poppies, and other perennials and biennials, cut off the mature seedpods (they will be brown or grey) and pop each one in a labeled envelope. You can sprinkle the seeds around this fall or wait until early spring. Or trade with other gardeners.

Cushion Large Fruits

Tomatoes, squash, and melons are susceptible to rotting if they rest on the soil. Slip some straw or a board or other support underneath the developing fruits to keep them off the ground.

Rejuvenate Lawns

New grass grows quickly and doesn't dry out as fast in the cooler weather of fall. To redo portions of the lawn, loosen the soil and spread seed, topping with a thin layer of straw. For compacted areas, core aerate to remove plugs, then topdress with compost.

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