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This week in your Massachusetts garden & landscape

Week of August 27, 2018
  • To clean newly harvested vegetables from the garden, use plain water.  Rinse vegetables gently under running water rubbing the surface.
  • The flavor of summer squash is best preserved by steaming rather than boiling.  Gently toss cut up pieces of summer squash with butter and chopped up herbs of basil or another favorite.
  • Young seedpods of radishes are edible and taste great mixed in with favorite stir-fry dishes or steamed.
  • As onion and potato leaves begin to die, reduce watering of these vegetables.  This will help with hardening of the bulbs and tubers for harvesting and storage.
  • Harvest peppers only as needed.  They will remain crispier on the plant than in the refrigerator.
  • A dwarf, hybrid variety of Sneezeweed (Helenium spp.) Mariachi ‘Bandera’ is available producing prolific, daisy like, red flowers with a yellow halo.  Growing only 15” tall and wide, it is a colorful summer bloomer that does not require staking.  It is hardy in zones 3-9 and thrives in full sun.
  • The stunning foliage of Sambucus racemose ‘Lemony Lace’ Elderberry is like bright sunshine in the landscape.  Its cut leaf foliage is tinged with red when the leaves first emerge.  The songbirds are drawn to the garden by the red berries produced in the autumn.  ‘Lemony Lace’ does need room to grow.  Reaching up to 5’ tall and 5’ wide when it is fully mature.  Low maintenance, deer resistant and hardy in zones 3a – 7b.
  • Peonies do not like to be divided and/or transplanted.  Dig up established plants only if absolutely necessary.  If you must transplant peonies, keep in mind that peonies will not bloom if that are planted too deep.  Shallow planting depth (positioning the buds only 1”-2” below the soil surface) is crucial.
  • When choosing the best herbs for flavoring beef in cooking, use basil, bay leaf, caraway, cumin, garlic, ginger, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.
  • Pentas lanceolate (Star Flower) is a beautiful annual offering excellent color choices.  The most eye-catching of all the star flowers is ‘Stars and Stripes’, a variegated leaf form.  Another wonderful characteristic of the Star Flowers is that they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  They thrive in full sun.

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