Saturday, August 29, 2009

Transplanting And Other Northern Garden Task

By Keith Markensen

In addition to the usual garden keeping chores... hoeing, watering, spraying and dusting"there are several transplanting jobs that can be done advantageously during August.

The lily is one perennial that can be transplanted now after its foliage has died. If you are planning to buy some lilies, get after your supplier right now so that you will have the bulbs in plenty of time for planting.

Madonna lilies should have ample time to make new roots and the, characteristic basal rosette of foliage before their growth is stopped by cold weather. Lilies prefer not to be disturbed, but if you have a clump which is so crowded that its size and blooming quality are on the downgrade, now is the time to amend matters. When digging lily bulbs, get as many roots as possible; separate the bulbs and plant them immediately, taking care to set them so that the tops of the bulbs are no more than 2 inches below the surface.

Transplanting the Oriental poppy, Virginia cowslip and iris When trans-planting Oriental poppies, dig down deeply (about 18 inches) to get as many of the roots as possible. Those left behind may start to grow and cause embarrassment.

The Virginia cowslip, which resents transplanting during the normal planting seasons, spring and fall, can be moved during August. Continue planting the bearded iris. If you can get bulbs of crown imperial (fritillaria) now, plant them immediately. They suffer when they are kept too long out of the ground.

Late-season chores in the eating garden Rooted strawberry runners that were started in pots should be planted as soon as they become available. They will bear next year.

Over most of our area it is not too late to produce a crop of snap beans before frost; choose a quick maturing variety. Devotees of "rabbit food" can sow seeds of lettuce and later can eat the seedlings that are thinned out. Lettuce will endure light frosts and, if sown in a coldframe, can be expected to continue to produce greens well into the month of November.

Moving evergreens Toward the end of the month foliage of evergreens will have hardened sufficiently to permit transplanting. The advantage of early planting is that root growth starts right away because the soil is warm; then the evergreen will be able to withstand the rigors of winter.

Taking cuttings of tender bedding plants and cleaning house plants Cuttings of tender bedding plants including blood-leaf (iresine) and alternanthera, and house plants such as pelargonium (house geranium) and patience plant or sultana (impatiens) can be inserted now in a mixture of equal parts by bulk of sand, peatmoss and garden soil. These will grow along and make better and clean house plants for storing indoors than the old plants which must be cut back and which then will take an unusually long time to recover.

Sowing pansies Pansies can be started now, and, if growing conditions are favorable and the plants can be transplanted to a coldframe before frost, you may have some flowers to grace the Thanksgiving table.

Two last-minute chores "Have you ordered your bulbs yet? If not, you had better get busy! Toward the end of the month, if the weather is suitable, prepare the ground for the starting of a new lawn.

The timing of these jobs is dependent largely on the weather, unless an ample supply of water is on tap to be applied where it will do the most good.

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