27August 22, 2012

It has been so nice to wake up to those 50-degree mornings Unfortunately, those cool mornings mean that fall is on its way.

Let’s start off talking about the tomato plants. In the past few days, we have had several customers stop by the store with ripe tomatoes. The tomato has a black spot on the side or top of the tomato. Some people have asked if it is the blossom end rot that can occur on tomatoes. Blossom end rot occurs on the bottom of the tomato. The infected tomatoes that the customers had brought into the store had the black sunken areas on the top or side of the tomato. This is not blossom end rot. This disease is called Black Rot. This disease occurs on ripe tomatoes. As with most diseases, it is caused by moisture sitting on the tomatoes during the night. Picking the ripe tomatoes as soon as they turn ripe will help to prevent this disease. You can also spray a fungicide on the plants to help to prevent this disease.

If your window boxes are looking a bit sad, many of the fall plants are beginning to show up in the garden centers. There has been an increase in the number of different plants that you can use for fall planters. If your planters are beginning to look their age, you will be able to re-plant them soon with fresh plants.

It probably is not going to come as a surprise that many of our lawns are looking a bit brown. Much of this occurred because of the lack of rain. We are now getting some rain from thunderstorms. If you apply some fertilizer to your lawn, the grass will green up again.

Late August is also a very good time to patch up those dead spots in your lawn. If need be, you can also install a new lawn at this time of the year. Cool nighttime temperature will allow dew to settle on the lawn. This helps in keeping the seed moist. Late August and early September have warm days which keeps the soil warm enough to allow for speedy germination of the seed. If you need to do some seeding of the lawn, now is a good time to begin.
If you have dead patches in your lawn and these are areas where grass usually dies out each year, you should dig up those areas and add some compost or topsoil to those areas. In all the years I have been in lawn and garden, I have found that if you cannot get grass to grow year after year in a particular area, the problem lies with the soil. You need at least 4 inches of good quality topsoil if you want to have a good lawn. 6 inches of soil is best because you will have to do less watering to keep the lawn healthy. If you have a problem area in your lawn, now is the time to dig up those areas and you should take the time to fix the soil before you apply any grass seed. If you fix the problem now, you won’t be back fixing it again each fall for who knows how many years.

This is the time of the year when many of you may slack off on caring for your vegetable garden. You still need to keep up with the weeding, watering and fertilizing if you want those tomatoes and other vegetables to ripen. When it comes to vegetable gardens, you weed, feed and water from the time you put the plants in until the frost wipes out the plants in the late fall.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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