Mid-Atlantic

September, 2011
Regional Report

Dry and Store Extra Veggies

Do you have more potatoes, beets, tomatoes, peppers, beans, okra, cauliflower, or corn than you and your family can eat now? Dehydrate them for tasty winter snacks. Drying veggies, fruits, meats, flowers, and herbs is an historic preservation technique. Read up on the how-to on the Web or in the manual that comes with a dehydrator. Or find an experienced friend or neighbor who's eager to share his or her tips and tricks.

Check for Recalled Burning Fuel Gels

The Consumer Products Safety Commission has issued a recall of gel-based fuels used in so-called "firepots." The pourable fuel can unexpectedly ignite and splash onto users when poured into already-lit firepots, posing a risk of burning the user. Consumers are urged to contact the manufacturers for refunds and information on how to return unused bottles of fuel. The CPSC urges anyone injured by burning fuel gel to report same at the agency's website: www.SaferProducts.gov. The recall involves scented and unscented gel fuels in one-quart plastic bottles and one-gallon plastic jugs ranging in price between $5 and $20. For more details, see http://www.saferproducts.gov/Default.aspx.

Vote for the American Garden Award Plant

The American Garden Award has extended the voting season for selected plants to September 30. You can vote online if you're unable to visit a display garden. Choose your favorite plant from one of seven entries. See www.americangardenaward.com for online voting. Those who visit an American Garden Award Display Garden in one of 24 participating public gardens nationwide can choose their favorite, then text the corresponding code or use the postage-paid postcards provided.

Protect Tender Crops with Row Covers

To keep a light frost from killing tender vegetable plants, protect them with a synthetic row cover. This can work until a hard frost. At night when the temperature drops, lay the protective fabric over beans, cucumbers, eggplants, muskmelon, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, and winter squash. You can also cover more frost-tolerant crops like beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsnips, peas, swiss chard, escarole, arugula, bok choy, mache, and radicchio to extend their harvest season.

Mulch Root Veggies for Late-Season Eating

Extend the season for beets, carrots, leeks, onions, radishes, and parsnips by mulching. Light frost makes root vegetables sweeter, so leave them in the ground to harvest before the ground freezes.

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