Mid-Atlantic

September, 2012
Regional Report

Divide, Transplant, Share Lirope

Thick clusters of liriope can be dug up, divided, transplanted, and shared. Dig deep to lift up the root ball. Shake or wash off the soil. You'll see lots of individual plants. Gently pull plants apart so each plant's roots loosen and separate from the clump. You'll have lots to transplant and share. Keep roots moist till you replant them.

Build Cold Frame for Late Season Veggies

Extend the growing season by building a tall cold frame for cool season veggies like cabbage, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, and collards. I'm putting my frame over young, cool season, leafy vegetables just getting started in my garden. Another idea is to plant seeds or young plants in window boxes or large pots. Place them in the cold frame under glass for warmth and protection.

Ask Neighbors to Save Leaves for You

Where neighbors are friendly, consider asking them to give you their fall leaves. Autumn leaves are a gardener's windfall. We can shred them into mulch for winter plant protection and fertilizer. We can heap them in a far corner to use as compost come spring. We can put a thick layer over an area we'd like to garden next year. We can apply them to an open garden area that tends to get weedy until we decide what to plant.

Don't Throw Infested, Diseased Debris in the Compost

Be vigilant about what you put in the compost pile. Tossing in insect-infested or diseased plant material will come back to haunt you next season! Home composting doesn't usually get hot enough to kill pathogens, insects, and insect eggs. Bag that debris for municipal pickup and commercial composting.

Deadhead Hostas and Roses

Clip off hosta stems covered with dead flowers and seed pods. Prune off dead roses so they don't become rose hips. Well, it's fine to leave some dead roses to turn to rose hips to feed the birds. Seed production takes energy that plants could use to prepare for winter dormancy. If you've a healthy, lush rugosa rose or other sturdy rose variety, leave the hips for the birds. Less vigorous hybrid teas, English roses, and speciality roses are best deadheaded before winter arrives.

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