Mid-Atlantic

August, 2011
Regional Report

Remove Wilted Cucumber Vines

Cucumber vines that wilt and die are likely infected with bacterial wilt disease. Remove infected vines and discard in trash, not compost bin. Water remaining vines to help them stay healthy. Keep an eye out for cucumber beetles. They carry the bacteria that causes the wilt. Remove vines infested with their larvae and orange eggs. There is no cure for bacterial wilt. Encourage natural predators that control the beetle such as tachinid flies, braconid wasps, and soldier beetles.

Coddle Your Melons and Squash

Protect melons and squash from rotting before they're ripe. Don't leave them directly on the soil. Slip straw or cardboard or tiles under them until they're ready to pick and enjoy.

Clip Lavender Flower Spikes

As lavender flowers die, clip off the spikes for fragrance, decoration, gifts, cooking. Lavender sprigs wrapped with ribbon are much appreciated for vases and as hanging sachets in a closet. A small bowl of lavender flowers and buds in the kitchen and bath provides such a refreshing scent when fingers roll and stir this simple potpourri.

Cut, Show, and Share Bouquet Flowers

Flowers such as zinnias, cosmos, Mexican sunflower, black-eyed Susan, garden phlox, annual phlox, daisies, celosia, amaranth, and tall ageratum benefit from being cut above an emerging flower bud. Immediately plunge cut stems into a bucket of water to keep flowers fresh. Cut stem again under water when making an arrangement.

Plant New and Divide Crowded Irises

Siberian, German-bearded, and Japanese Iris are entering dormancy. Late summer through Labor Day is an excellent time to plant new and to divide-to-transplant crowded irises. Plants will develop new roots and get established before winter cold.

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