The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
The Heart of New England
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
Contact| The Heart of New England HOME | Search

Click Here to Get Your FREE Weekly Newsletter Today!
Keeping Compost Moist & Other August Gardening Tips
By Charlie Nardozzi, Senior Horticulturist National Gardening Association, and
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor  University of Vermont

Keeping your compost moist, freezing corn and berries, and removing old
mulch under roses are some of the gardening tips for August.  
     
Take a Hose to the Compost Pile

After a few days without rain, take a hose to the compost pile and moisten the
materials to keep them decomposing. Use a compost fork to mix the ingredients,
moving the stuff around the outside of the pile into the middle where most of the
decomposition takes place.
    
Lupine Plant Care

Leave some seedpods on lupine plants until they dry. Then cut the pods off the
plants, using a paper bag to catch the pods and any seeds knocked loose as you
cut. Store the pods and seeds in the paper bag in a cool, dry place for sowing
next spring. When the foliage begins to die, reduce watering to encourage the
bulbs and tubers to harden before harvest. This helps maximize their storage life.
    
Avoid Spreading Disease in the Garden

The long stretch of rainy weather in many areas means soggy soil and plants. To
avoid spreading disease, try to avoid walking among your plants when they are
wet. It's not too late to spread hay as a mulch, which can help keep disease
spores from splashing up onto plants. If you don't mulch, lightly hoe the surface
of the soil when it dries out to break up any crust that could impede water
penetration. Harvest frequently so fruit doesn't rot on the plants.

Preserve Produce

Preserve the fresh-picked (well, almost) flavor of corn on the cob for winter
meals. Cook the cobs as usual, then using a special corn scraper or a sharp knife,
cut off the kernels and freeze them in freezer bags. They will be much tastier than
any store-bought frozen or canned corn.
    
Berries such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are easy
to flash freeze for winter smoothies. Rinse the berries and let them dry on paper
towels. Spread them in a single layer in cake pans or whatever size pans will fit
in your freezer. When frozen, pour them into labeled freezer bags or plastic
containers, and pop them back in the freezer.
    
Many other vegetables, either from your garden or local farm stand, can be
frozen fairly simply.  Just make sure you have the correct containers for freezing,
marked as such.  Sandwich bags and dairy containers for instance wont work.  
Then make sure you boil briefly or "blanch" prior to freezing to stop the enzymes
that make vegetables keep ripening.  Just boil until they are barely cooked and
still quite tender, then submerge in a pot of water and ice to cool quickly.  You
can find many more freezing details online:
Freezing Food Info.
    
Remove Mulch Under Roses

Begin removing the old mulch under roses and raking up all leaves and debris.
While this organic matter may seem beneficial, there are many rose disease
organisms and insects that overwinter there, and you can reduce the damage to
your plants next year by getting rid of it all.
    
Stop pruning most trees and shrubs now, and allow roses to form hips. Pruning
woody plants stimulates new growth that may not have time to harden off before
the first cold snap of autumn. Leaving spent rose flowers so they form hips
signals roses that they, too, should begin winding down.
Join us on
FaceBook or
Twitter
for exclusive updates,
travel specials,
giveaways
& more!










Click here to get your
FREE subscription to
The Heart of New England
weekly newsletter (and get
your free desktop
backgrounds!)



Bring the heart of
New England into your
home with beautiful,
affordable, high-quality
New England prints.
Visit our
New England Art Gallery
today!



Click here for more on
New England gardening
MML Promo