Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

New England

July, 2006
Regional Report

Fertilize Blueberries

Blueberries benefit from an acidic fertilizer each year. Apply 1/2 pound of ammonium sulfate when the bushes start blooming, and another 1/2 pound four to six weeks later, right about now. If the leaves turn yellow with green veins, they may have an iron deficiency. Applying 2 to 3 ounces of ferrous sulfate or iron chelate around the base of the plants will help correct this.

Propagate Oriental Poppies

Most poppies resent transplanting, so a good way to propagate Oriental poppies is by root cuttings. Once the plants have dried up, dig up pieces of root and cut them into smaller pieces. Plant these sections, and sprouts will form this summer. By next year, you'll have new flowering plants.

Avoid Using Sprinklers in Midday Sun

The best time to water the garden with a sprinkler is in the morning, second-best is late afternoon, worst is during the hottest part of the day. So much water is lost when using an overhead sprinkler on a sunny afternoon that you may as well pour it down the drain. Even better than a sprinkler are drip irrigation systems and soaker hoses, which slowly apply water directly to the soil and don't wet the foliage. If you do use a sprinkler, be sure to keep it on long enough to wet the soil to the root zones. This can take much longer than you think.

Loosen Soil Surface

After heavy rains, the soil surface can get compacted, which can lead to runoff. Gently cultivate the soil with a hoe or other tool to break up any crust and allow water to penetrate.

Fertilize Container Plantings

Frequent rains leach fertilizer from the soil of container plantings, so they need to be fertilized more often than plants in the ground. Mix liquid fertilizer into the watering can and use it weekly. Don't fertilize when the soil is very dry or it can burn the roots, so you may need to water plants first, then water with the fertilizer solution.


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