NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

August 14, 2013

Tim's Tips:

I hate to say that fall is coming, but the reality is that fall is coming. With the arrival of fall comes, eventually, the dreaded “W” season. So let’s not dwell on the W season and just figure out what you should be doing now in your gardens.

If you have some space in your vegetable garden, you can plant some crops that you can harvest this fall. Now is a good time to put some pea seeds in the ground. I have had the best luck sowing the seeds in mid-August if I want a good crop of peas. You can also plant beans, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, Swiss chard and other leafy greens. By planting these plants from seed, you will enjoy fresh vegetables well into the fall.

If you are planning on patching up spots in your lawn or if you need to do over your lawn, it is important that you do the math and get the seed put down sooner rather than later. It takes about 21 days for grass seed to sprout. It takes about another month to month and a half for the roots of the seed to get established in the soil. As a general rule of thumb, you want to have the seed in place by the end of September. Mid- to late August is a good time to put down your grass seed. The soil is warm, yet days are gradually cooler. The cool nights cause dew to fall, which helps keep the soil moist. There tends to be more rainy days, which means you have to water less often.

Every October, we get people in the store who want to put in grass seed. They want assurances that they can seed and have it sprout and grow. The problem is, at that late date, you are battling the elements. When will we get the first freezing of the ground? When will the first snowfall be and how much will we get, and will it last the rest of the season? It is better to start seeding earlier and have to do a bit more watering rather than wait until late and find out that all the work you did was for nothing.

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