Mid-Atlantic

August, 2010
Regional Report

Clip and Use Herbs

Basil, dill, parsley, oregano, thyme, tarragon and rosemary are in their prime. Use leaves in new and favorite recipes now. Enjoy their freshness and flavor longer into the season by clipping them back. Snip off the tops of basil and dill before they flower. Cut back leafy basil and tarragon stems by half. Look next week and you'll see they're more bushy. This is because pruning stimulates growth.

Elevate Melons and Large Squash

Keep ripening cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydews, butternut squash, pumpkins and other ground vine produce from rotting. Slip a flat dinner plate or ceramic tile under each melon and squash. Even an upside-down terracotta saucer will do. You want to use something to lift the veggie off the soil and away from moisture, giving it time to ripen.

Weed After the Rain

Weeding is a chore, even if you (like me) enjoy the tugging and tidying. Add water to make this work easier. When possible, time weeding AFTER a rain - when soil is wet. If the weather doesn't cooperate during extended dry spells, use the hose to moisten soil just enough to make weed pulling easy and efficient.

Water After Weeding

Weeding disturbs the roots of nearby perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees. This is especially noticeable now - in mid- to late-season - when established weed roots reach deep. That's evident when pulling out clumps of crab, quack, foxtail, black, and rye grasses or thick-stalked poke weed. Water well and long at ground level to resettle soil around remaining flowers, veggies, and woodies.

Water and Wait Before Removing Struggling Woodies

The hot, dry summer has been stressful for all plants. Leaves on shrubs and trees may have turned brown and dropped. Don't assume the woodies are dead though. They may have gone into self-preservation mode - eliminating plant parts that took too much energy to keep alive. Keep watering them. Look for signs of new green growth and swelling buds. If stems are green inside (rather than tan or brown), there is hope. So water, water, water till winter freeze.

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