Mid-Atlantic

August, 2008
Regional Report

Enjoy County and State Fairs

With cool evenings and summer's bounty on display, county and state fairs are great fun. You can get your fill of prize-winning vegetables, floral arrangements, jellies and jams, live music, farm animals, latest in tractors and farm machinery ... and funnel cake. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 county and community agricultural fairs. The Web lists 21 fairs in New Jersey, one in Delaware.

Replace Washers and Damaged Hose Connections

Been walking by a leaking garden hose connection all summer? Can't fit a sprayer on a bent metal hose end so you let the water run rather than shut off the spigot? That's water a'wasting, money down the drain, and a precious natural resource lost. Repairing these only takes a few minutes. A leaking hose connection likely means a worn or missing washer. Unscrew the female connector, remove the old washer, and insert a new one. If water still leaks, you likely need a new connector. Even buying a new hose is probably cheaper than paying for the water lost. To replace a damaged or broken hose end connection, use a sharp utility knife to cut off the connector just below where it joins the hose. Insert a replacement hose end in the hose, then secure it tightly by screwing on a hose clamp (metal preferred).

Deadhead Tattered Seed Heads

Fresh astilbe, allium, columbine, and eremus seed heads are eye-catching, textural accents in a summer garden. But by now, they've likely lost their attraction and appear crispy brown, drooping, or just barely standing. Clip them off and shake to scatter any seeds left. Use decoratively if there's potential. If not, toss stems and pods in the compost pile.

Prune Summer Phlox for Continued Bloom

Clip off spent flower clusters on your tall summer phlox (Phlox paniculata) such as 'David', 'Robert Poore', 'Shortwood', 'Katherine', 'Starfire', 'Bright Eyes', etc. Snip just above a node (where leaf grows from stem) with flower buds. Plants will fill out and continue to flower into autumn as long as you remove dead flower clusters.

Sow Seeds for Fall Greens

For a fall harvest of fresh greens, sow cool-weather vegetable seeds now in gardens as well as in window boxes, hayracks, and containers of all shapes and sizes. Greens are easy to grow in containers that have room for 4 to 6 inches of nutritious soil. Sow some seeds now, another batch in two weeks.

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