22August 17, 2017

The days of summer are slowly winding down. The sun is setting earlier each day and the days seem to be cooler. Time to begin thinking about fall.

 If you have some room in your vegetable garden, now would be a good time to plant some peas. I have found that planting pea seed now will result in a good crop before the weather gets too cold.

There is still time to plant another crop of bush beans. Leaf lettuce, radish, beets, and most of the leafy greens all make for a season extending harvest that sometimes can go right up until Thanksgiving.

Fungus diseases are thriving on the vegetable crops and many annual and perennial flowers. If the fungus diseases are allowed to get a foothold on your plants, they will kill your plants. Powdery mildew is very common on squash and cucumbers. Late blight is beginning to show up on the lower leaves of tomatoes. In some cases the early blight and the late blight have overlapped and they are rapidly killing the plants. You should be looking at your plants every few days to see if any suspicious discolorations are appearing on the leaves. If you see anything wrong, you want to get a fungicide applied to the plants. Make sure to read the label of the fungicide to see if it is appropriate for the particular plant. In the case of your vegetable plants, you want to pay attention to how many days you need to wait after spraying before you can harvest any of the vegetables. You will find that it can vary from vegetable to vegetable as to how many days you have to wait.

Late August is a good time to re-seed or to start a lawn. Seed will sprout quickly if it gets a steady supply of water. We do tend to get more dew in the late summer / early fall and rainfall is usually more prevalent. If you have had a hard time growing a lawn, the issue is the quality of the soil. To successfully grow a permanent lawn, you need 6 inches of good quality loam. It does not due any good to add a half-inch to an inch of loam on top of soil that hasn’t supported a lawn in the past. You need to dig up the soil and mix loam or compost into the top 6 inches of the soil. You should add some lime to the soil and you should add a seed starter fertilizer to the soil. The seed starter fertilizer will feed the newly forming roots and help your seed to turn into the nice lawn that you have always wanted to have in your yard. Remember that grass seed needs to have a steady supply of moisture to get that seed to sprout. The factors that you have to take into account on how often you need to water are heat, wind and sun. The hotter it is, the sunnier it is and the windier it is will all dry out the soil faster. You may be able to get away with watering twice a day if it is overcast and cool. If you are having a windy heat wave, you may have to water 3 or 4 times per day. Once the seed sprouts, the newly emerging blades of grass can help to shade the soil and you should be able to cut back on the watering. It can take up to 21 days for some seed to sprout and it takes about another month for the seed to create a new lawn. In most years, you want to have the seed in place by the end of September if you want to have an established lawn before winter sets in.

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

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