New England

August, 2012
Regional Report

Harvest Potatoes

Wait about ten days after the tops have died back, then dig potatoes by loosening the soil along the edge of each row with a garden fork, taking care to avoid damaging the underground tubers in the process. If you do nick any by mistake, eat these soon, as they won't keep well. Potatoes will last longest in storage if they are cured for about two weeks in a dark, humid, 50-60 degree location, then stored in a dark, humid, and cooler location (but no lower than 40 degrees).

Fill in Empty Spots with Rye Grass

As summer vegetable harvests finish, unless you are following with a late season crop, cultivate the beds and sprinkle the seeds of annual rye grass as a cover crop. Lightly rake the seeds into the soil and keep the bed moist until seeds sprout. Annual rye will keep growing until late fall. Although it usually dies over the winter in most parts of New England, it will protect the soil from erosion over the winter and can be turned under in the spring.

Check the Compost Pile

To keep your pile active, turn it and sprinkle with water if the weather has been dry. Set up some bins made from circles of wire fencing in an out-of-the-way spot to collect fall leaves that will break down slowly into leaf mold.

Fertilize Lawns

Early September is a good time to give your lawn its main feeding of the year. For an established lawn, choose a fertilizer that does not contain phosphorus (the middle number of the analysis is zero) unless a soil test indicates a deficiency.

Divide Daylilies

Late summer and early fall is a good time to divide overcrowded daylilies or those you want more of. The popular repeat-blooming daylilies such as 'Stella de Oro' and 'Happy Returns' will bloom best if divided every few years.

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