Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Late tips for summer gardening

Late-summer gardening tips from Ann McCulloh, curator of plant collections at the Cleveland Botanical Garden:

-- Remove diseased leaves and stems to reduce the spread or recurrence of plant health problems.

-- Keep the vegetable garden clear of spent plants and dying foliage.

-- When possible, avoid watering plants from above. Many fungal diseases thrive on wet foliage. A better method is to lay a soaker hose at the base of the plants to soak the root zone slowly and conserve water.

-- Put a simple rain gauge in your garden to make sure it's getting about 1 inch of water per week. Check and empty it weekly, and give your plants additional water if warranted.

-- Collect seeds from flowering plants to plant next year. Leave seed heads on perennials to reseed and to feed songbirds.

-- This is a good time to move or divide many spring-blooming perennials, including iris, peony, Oriental poppy and Shasta daisy. Replant with added compost, humus or manure, and water well for the rest of the season.

-- Reseed bare spots in the lawn to give grass seedlings time to develop before winter. Seed according to package directions, scatter straw lightly over the seeds, and keep them watered.

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