Mid-Atlantic

October, 2007
Regional Report

Get Tax Credits For Solar Heating

It's not quite gardening, but installing a solar heating system might (eventually) free up some extra money for garden projects. Federal tax credit (up to 30 percent of system costs minus state incentives) is a maximum $2,000 for installations through Dec. 31, 2007. Dollar-for-dollar credit covers photovoltaic solar heating sytem with roof panels and/or a solar-powered water heating system for radiant floors, radiators, or water heaters. Also covered is installation of energy-saving windows, exterior doors, heat pumps, insulation, and more. For more info, go to: http://www.energystar.gov.

Remove Seedheads to Stop Invasives

Irradicating invasive species such as goutweed (mile-a-minute vine) is difficult but not impossible. Removing seedheads before seeds spread is a nontoxic way to reduce the seed supply. An official "noxious weed," goutweed has arrow-shaped leaves and barbs on the stems, and forms a dense mat that covers vegetation, fences ... anything in its way. A common species (Polygonatum perfoliatum) produces tight, blue seed clusters, evident now. To start control, remove and burn all berries. Either clip off the clusters or mow the plants and burn the debris, advises the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. Continue removing seeds and mowing or brush hogging the plants and destroying the debris for as long as it takes to deep six this alien invader.

Pot Up Amaryllis for Winter Bloom

Amaryllis bulbs will flower 7 to 10 weeks after planting. Place potted bulbs in a warm (70 degrees F), well-lit spot. Water sparingly until the stem emerges. As the buds and leaves grow, increase watering to keep the soil moist until flowers fade.

Bring Autumn's Charm to Your Containers

As flowering annuals in containers lose their vigor, replace them with wavy, colorful ornamental grasses, such as variegated or wide-leaved liriope, fluffy flowering Pennisetum, mounding Carex. Take advantage of late-season shrub sales. Copper/mahogany-leaved ninebark (Physocarpus), hardy Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa), and Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) will survive winter in large containers. Tuck orange, blue, purple, and peach winter pansies at pot edges for a necklace of color now and again in spring.

Remove Cannas, Dahlias, Agapanthus Before Freeze

Tender bulbs must be dug up before they freeze. Store them in a dry location with above-freezing temperature for winter. Clear a storage spot in the garage or basement where the temperature will hover around 45 to 60 degrees F from December into spring. Have peat moss and pots or a sturdy box ready to house these bulbs after you've shaken off as much soil as possible.

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