Mid-Atlantic

August, 2000
Regional Report

Protecting Melons


Sweet and fragrant ripening melons are prime targets for hungry critters such as raccoons. Protect the fruits against animal attacks by caging the fruits in wire mesh; then set each melon on a shingle or piece of wood to protect it from rotting and soil-borne pests. If your plant is trellised, adjust the slings periodically to accommodate the enlarging melons.

Fertilizing Squash

Melons and squash will appreciate a side dressing of compost and/or a complete granular fertilizer every few weeks to keep fertility levels high. Pull aside the mulch and scratch the feeding lightly into the soil surface. Then replace the mulch. An occasional foliar feed with manure or compost tea can also be beneficial.

Keep Patrolling the Garden


Take a pleasant few minutes to patrol your vegetable garden at least every other day. This will enable you to harvest produce at its peak of freshness and also scout for pest, disease, and other problems. If you catch a problem early, you will have a much better chance of bringing it under control quickly.

Identify Butterfly Larvae


The first step to enjoying the butterflies in your garden is knowing who's who. A simple field guide to butterflies can help you identify not only the butterflies but also their caterpillars. That voracious "pest" devouring your parsley, Virginia creeper, or butterfly weed plant (Asclepias) might just be a welcome butterfly in disguise!

Divide Iris

Bearded iris should be divided in midsummer when the foliage naturally droops and flops over. First trim the foliage to about 4 inches tall. Then gently lift the rhizomes and discard the oldest sections and any with signs of borer holes or rot. Replant healthy rhizomes in improved soil. You should see new foliage in a few weeks.

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