Mid-Atlantic

September, 2010
Regional Report

Remove Dying Vegetable Plants

If your bean, tomato, cucumber and summer squash vines are past their prime and dying, remove them. Check for evidence of pests or diseases on the plant leaves and stems. For example, look for squash vine borer, white fly, aphids, rust (fungi), spider mites. If there's any infestation or problem, do not put debris in your compost pile. (The composting temperature won't likely be hot enough to kill the baddies.) Bag that for trash pickup. Put the good stuff in your compost bin.

Remove Weeds Before They Go To Seed

Even if you've been neglectful about weed removal till now, here's another opportunity to keep them from sprouting next year. Remove them NOW before the seed heads ripen, pop, open or otherwise disperse to plague you and your neighbors next spring.

Choose and Order Spring- and Summer-Flowering Bulbs.

Eager to have more and different spring flowers? There are so many spring-flowering bulbs to choose from! Besides daffodils, tulips and crocuses, try native blue-purple Camassia, Ithuriel's Spear, Snowdrops, Trout Lily, Snowflake, Star Flower, Windflower, Winter Aconite, Glory of the Snow, Spanish and English Bluebells, Siberian Squill, Allium, and Fritillaria. Browse your favorite bulb catalogs and websites for new varieties and the tried-and-trues you want more of.

Apply Organic and Slow-Release Fertilizers to Ornamental Gardens

Organic and slow-release fertilizers will decompose through winter. Applying them to garden beds now will result in a spring tonic next March. What are organic fertilizers? Materials from nature such as compost, leaf mold, alfalfa meal, worm castings, aged animal manure, feather meal, kelp, cottonseed meal, bone meal. Slow-release fertilizers are usually composed of nutrients in granular form that dissolve slowly in water and decompose over time through microbial action.

Do Lawn Care

Early autumn into mid-September is the best time to seed, sod, fertilize, amend soil with lime, compost and leaf mold. Though not all simultaneously. Seeding and sodding involve good soil preparation, planting or sowing seed, then watering - but not direct fertilization or lime. Fertilizing an established lawn will show its benefits next spring. Use a top quality, slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer so there's no nitrogen burn.

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