Monday, August 3, 2009

Greenhouse Task For The August Calendar

By Thomas Fryd

Half the fun of growing first class flowers and vegetables is showing them. In showing follow the schedule to the letter, or should I say "number"? One too many or one too few will disqualify you. Also try to select flowers or vegetables of uniform size and if it is vegetables select those of uniform shape as well. It isn't the biggest tomato or the biggest eggplant that gets the prize but the best. Be sure to wash beets, carrots, or beans and avoid blemishes, broken roots, discolored or chewed foliage, cracked tomatoes, earworms in corn or disfiguration of any kind. Long stems on flowers are important.

Divide Peonies and Bleeding Hearts

Divide and split the peonies into sections with five or six eyes. In replanting there should be no more than one inch of soil over the crown. Bleeding heart is more difficult to handle because it breaks so readily into many seemingly useless pieces. Put together several pieces three or four inches long and plant them with two inches of soil over the crown.

Firm the soil around the roots with your foot. Since replanted perennials are not likely to be disturbed for several years, enrich the soil with manure and bonemeal before planting.

Plant Madonna lilies in August. Barely cover them and mark the spot so you won't disturb them when you cultivate. For a very beautiful picture plant the lilies beside blue delphiniums.

Sow winter rye in blank spots in the garden as they appear. Level the soil, sow the rye generously and rake it in. It is a grand soil conditioner and adds humus to the soil when dug under in late fall. Sown later, it is left all winter and dug under in the spring. Just as soon as a row or two of space is available sow the rye.

Greenhouse Task

Cuttings of tender perennials such as heliotrope, lantana, verbena, ageratum and fuschia plant care should be taken now. These cuttings will be the stock plants from which you will propagate in spring for your supply of bedding out plants. Some of the cuttings taken now could be grown into standards for next year's garden. Select a few of the strongest and pot them. Do not pinch. Instead, keep removing all the side shoots as they come along. Keep the main stem growing until the plant reaches the desired height and repot as they require it. Heliotropes and fuchsias make fine standards in one winter. Lantana takes two years to make a sizable head. Standards are fine material for adding height and interest to flower borders.

Bulbs to plant this month for winter flowering are freesias, ixias and lachenalias. Plant 12 to 14 bulbs per 6-inch pot with the tips of the bulbs exposed. Use 1 part sand, 1 part humus and 2 parts soil with 6-inch potful of fine bonemeal to each bushel of mixture. Place the pots in a coldframe and shade until growth takes place. Water sparingly until well started.

A compost pile for greenhouse and frame use is a must.

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