Visit the horticultural exhibits at the Indiana State Fair, Aug. 9-20. Bring your gardening questions to the Purdue Master Gardener booth in the Marsh Agricultural/Horticulture Building.
HOME (Houseplants and indoor activities)
Take cuttings from plants such as impatiens, coleus, geraniums and wax begonias to overwinter indoors. Root the cuttings in media such as moist vermiculite, perlite, peat moss or potting soil, rather than water.
Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting.
Cut flowers from the garden to bring a little color indoors or to dry for everlasting arrangements.
YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits)
Check trees and shrubs that have been planted in recent years for girdling damage by guy wires, burlap or ropes.
Don't fertilize woody plants now. It stimulates late growth that will not have time to harden off properly before winter.
Hand-prune and destroy bagworms, fall webworms and tent caterpillars.
Pears are best ripened off the tree, so do not wait for the fruit to turn yellowish on the tree. Harvest pears when color of fruit changes--usually from a dark green to a lighter green--and when the fruit is easily twisted and removed from the spur.
Prune out and destroy the raspberry and blackberry canes that bore fruits this year. They will not produce fruit again next year, but they may harbor insect and disease organisms.
If weather turns dry, keep newly established plants well watered. New plants should receive 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week to 10 days.
Begin seeding new lawns or bare spots in established lawns in mid-August through mid-September.
GARDEN (Vegetables, small fruits and flowers)
Keep the garden well watered during dry weather and free of weeds, insects and disease.
Complete fall garden planting by direct-seeding carrots, beets, kohlrabi, kale and snap beans early this month. Lettuce, spinach, radishes and green onions can be planted later in August and early September. Don't forget to thin seedlings to appropriate spacing as needed.
Harvest onions after the tops yellow and fall, then cure them in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area. The necks should be free of moisture when fully cured in about a week's time.
Harvest potatoes after the tops yellow and die. Potatoes also need to be cured before storage.
Pick beans, tomatoes, peppers and squash often to encourage further production.
Harvest watermelon when several factors indicate ripeness--the underside ground spot turns from whitish to creamy yellow; the tendril closest to the melon turns brown and shrivels; the rind loses its gloss and appears dull; and the melon produces a dull thud rather than a ringing sound when thumped.
Harvest sweet corn when kernels are plump and ooze a milky juice when punctured with your fingernail. If the liquid is watery, you're too early; if the kernels are doughy, you're too late.
Keep faded flowers pinched off bedding plants to promote further flowering and improve plant appearance.
Spade or till soil for fall bulb planting, and add a moderate amount of fertilizer.