Mid-Atlantic

August, 2009
Regional Report

Enjoy Pick-Your-Own Farms and Orchards

Two or three times a month, I see couples (usually) and a few children making their way through a field of zinnias, lisianthus, cleome, and sunflowers. They're cutting bouquets of flowers to take home... along with fresh veggies purchased at the stand. Berry season is past but autumn's harvest includes peaches, apples, and pumpkins. Make a Pick-Your-Own afternoon of it -- with the kids, friends, family. What better way to learn where healthy food comes from? Along with exercise, Vitamin D, and fun memories.

Re-edge Garden Beds

Edging gardens brings a professional, refreshing touch to your landscape. Cutting an edge and removing encroaching grass and weeds defines your garden with a clean line. It's like framing a beautiful picture. If you edged in spring, re-edging now -- especially a day or two after a rain -- will be relatively easy-going.

Encourage Pollinators; Get a Mason Bee House

If your veggies, fruits, and berries flowered but didn't form fruit, perhaps your area doesn't have enough pollinators. The orchard mason bee, a gentle, nonsocial native bee (Osmia lignaria), pollinates spring fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables. Smaller than a honey bee, it's not aggressive. It stings only when handled roughly or caught in clothing. In nature the mason bee nests in hollow stems and woodpecker and insect holes in trees or wood. Encourage these beneficial pollinators by installing a mason bee house.

Stop Pruning and Fertilizing Roses

This rainy season hasn't been good for most roses. Ideal conditions for powdery mildew, rust, black spot. Though we may feel short-changed of flowers, pushing the rose shrubs now for more blooms isn't a good idea. August 15 is the cut-off date for fertilizing and pruning. Roses should be slowing down their growth in anticipation of winter dormancy.

Fix Leaky Hoses

Have you been walking by a leaking garden hose connection all summer? 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 -- easily replaced. Or if the hose end connection is damaged, 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.

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