Mid-Atlantic

September, 2011
Regional Report

Clip Off Herb Flowers and Trim Herbs

If you haven't already, clip off flowers on basil, oregano, mint, and marjoram plants. It's fine to trim sprawling or too tall stems to keep them in bounds or to harvest. All herbs are best used fresh, especially basil and marjoram. Oregano and mint hold flavor when dried and stored in airtight containers.

Test Lawn Soil Before Adding Lime

We're such creatures of habit. It's autumn. Time to put lime on the lawn, whether it needs it or not. Stop. Get a professional soil test done, which is easy and inexpensive via your state agricultural Extension Service. Call your Extension Service office or check the Web to find out where to purchase the kit and its cost (usually around $12 to $20). The test comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You mail soil to the university testing lab. Staff will mail or email test results including nutrient levels, pH, and soil improvement recommendations.

Put Diseased Plant Material Out with the Trash

Not all plant debris is alike. Dead flower heads and cut-back stems are compostable. Not so diseased leaves and stems and whole plants. Leaves raked from under roses, azaleas, and rhododendrons are likely to carry bad fungi that can reinfect the plant. Diseased-ravaged tomato, cuke, squash, phlox, hollyhock, and peony debris is best put out with the trash to either be commercially composted at high temperatures or put in a landfill.

Enjoy The Harvest

Be they cut flowers, vegetables, fruits, or nuts, continue to harvest the bounty to enjoy as long as the plants produce. The more you harvest, the more the plants bloom and fruit.

Look Around at Neighbors

Who in the neighborhood is gardening too? As life slows from the summer flush and rush, fall is a more leisurely time in the garden. Who else has extra tomatoes and squash? Take time to chat. Maybe you can grow different plants next year ... and share new as well as overabundant veggies. Who'd much appreciate those extra veggies? Single mom with ever-hungry kids, elderly or housebound neighbor, teens with voracious appetites? Consider making it a more reciprocal situation by gently suggesting they join you to pick or weed for a few minutes or somehow get involved in gardening. They don't have to... but wouldn't it be fun if they did, and enjoyed the garden/outdoor experience as well as the food.

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Special Report - Garden to Table

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