Upper South

August, 2012
Regional Report

Transplant Bearded Iris

When clumps of iris get too large, they are more prone to pests, plus they don't bloom as well. To rejuvenate plants, dig, divide, and replant through August. Dig a clump of iris, wash off the soil, and discard the older rhizomes. Save the young, vigorous rhizomes with at least one fan of leaves attached, cutting the leaves to 4 inches. Before replanting, prepare the soil well, then plant the rhizomes horizontally in the soil, just barely covering the rhizome.

Preserve Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not only one of the most abundantly producing of home-grown vegetables, but also one of the easiest to preserve, whether simply peeled, crushed, and canned in jars using the water-bath method, made into salsa, or slow-cooked into sauce. Some people prefer to freeze tomatoes, putting them whole into freezer bags. When thawed, they are easy to peel. Another option is to slowly roast halved tomatoes in the oven with garlic, fresh herbs, and olive oil, then store in the freezer.

Check Plant Supports

While picking vegetables or gathering flowers from the garden, be sure to check on plant supports, including tomato and pepper cages, strings for runner beans or morning glories, or wire forms for perennials. The full weight of the plants may be causing them to lean or weaken. Strong winds can also wreak havoc with plant support systems. Provide whatever reinforcements are necessary, as there is still much of the growing season left.

Don't Let Annual Weeds Go To Seed

High temperatures may be driving you inside and away from the garden, but weeds never stop growing. One of the best ways to lessen your weeding chores over the years is by making sure annual weeds don't go to seed. Try to periodically schedule time in the early morning or in the evening for weeding. By working on small areas at a time this summer, you'll be able to lessen the onslaught of weed seeds sprouting next spring.

Beware Lightning

So called pop-up storms are typical of summer afternoons. It may be tempting to keep harvesting or weeding just a little bit longer as you hear the rumble of thunder in the distance, but you're putting yourself in danger. Don't seek refuge under a tall tree or under an arbor or gazebo. Get into the house. Also avoid being near a pool, fountain, sprinklers, or hose, as water is a great conductor of electricity.

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