Upper South

July, 2009
Regional Report

Keep On Weeding

Weeds don't take a vacation, so it's important to keep up with them on a regular basis, preferably when they're still young. It's especially important to not let them go to seed. Choose a time when the soil is somewhat dry. Hand pulling is the most effective method, but specialized weeding tools that get deep roots is an important tool to have, too. When weeding, be sure to remove the entire weed, including all the roots. After weeding, apply an organic mulch to further suppress weed growth and maintain even soil moisture.

Makes Notes and Take Photos

Although ideal to have notes and photos of your garden from throughout the year, it's especially worthwhile to document your flowerbeds when they're at their peak. Not only is it fun to share the photos, but they provide useful reminders of what worked and what didn't in your garden. Make extra copies of the photos and make notes on them of what needs to be moved or added. Keeping a combination notebook and scrapbook is one of the most important tools in making your garden better each year.

Divide and Replant Iris and Daylilies

Both iris and daylilies need divided and replanting ever 3 or 4 years to keep them vigorous. The best time to do this is after they finish blooming. To divide iris, lift a clump, being careful to not damage the rhizomes. Throw away the oldest rhizomes plus soft or damaged ones. Cut foliage back to 6 inches and plant young rhizomes 6 inches apart, setting halfway above the ground. To divide daylilies, dig the clump, cut foliage back to 3 inches, separate the dense mass of roots into clumps with three or four fans of leaves, and plant 12 to 18 inches apart.

Plant Potatoes

Many people think that potatoes can only be planted in spring, but potatoes planted now readily mature in time for providing storage potatoes for the winter. Till the soil and plant the tubers 4 to 6 inches deep. Some gardeners cut potatoes into pieces, each with one eye, or sprout, but it's simpler to just plant a whole potato. Once the plants emerge, mulch the area with straw to maintain even soil moisture and limit weed growth. If potato beetles appear, spray with the Bt formulation for controlling this pest. Otherwise, wait until the foliage dies back, dig the potatoes, cure in a warm, dry place, then store and enjoy all winter long.

Pick a Bouquet

Bring the glory of the garden indoors with bouquets of fresh flowers. Be sure to share some with friends, too. The best time to gather flowers is early in the morning. Cut them with a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears and immediately plunge into a bucket of cool water. They'll keep best if they're "conditioned" by placing in a cool place for several hours before arranging. When ready to make bouquets, remove foliage that will be below water. Make sure vases are cleaned well and have fun creating beautiful combinations from your garden!

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