By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

Have you heard of corn gluten meal? It’s an organic material that kills weed seeds and adds about 10 percent nitrogen to your lawn. It a bright orange dust that you apply thickly to your grass in late August then again in mid May. 

What cgm does is kill any emerging seeds the weeds have dropped for next year’s crop.  Your neighbors dandelion seeds don’t have anchors on them so you will get to enjoy them every time there is a little breeze. This is why you put cgm down in August. This is not a onetime thing. You will need to do this for 3 or 4 years to get the best results. Then, not only will you have a beautiful almost weed free lawn, you may officially call yourself an organic lawn care specialist. Never apply any chemical to dry grass. This will do nothing but remove cash from your pocket and probably kill your grass. All chemicals need to be watered in.  

A thick, healthy stand of grass at least 3 inches tall, will shade out many weed seeds. It will not need to be mowed more often either.  Grass grows slower from 2 to 3 inches than it does from 1 to 2 inches. So, you save both time and gas. What a deal!                           

If you are already hip deep in creeping Charlie, plantain and dandelions, cgm won’t do diddley for them. You will need a broad leaf weed killer about Labor Day then again about 2 weeks later. Don’t apply any chemicals to the lawn or garden unless we get good fall rains. All plants, including trees need about an inch of rain a week.

If your fruit trees are dropping fruit, get the fruit bagged and in the garbage as soon as possible. Windfall fruit is more often than not, infested with larvae that are just waiting to get into your soil to winter. Next spring they emerge and you will have to fight them all over again. If you had bagged your apples, you wouldn’t have maggots. If you didn’t think your apples to one or two per clump, be sure you have the branches well braced. A strong wind can literally tear an overloaded tree apart.

Pamper your strawberries and raspberries by giving them water before their poor tongues are hanging out. They are forming buds now for next year. By keeping them well hydrated and comfortable, you will ensure a good crop of berries next year.

It has not been a good year for tomatoes. They can be cat faced, have blossom end rot or even have sunscald. You can’t prevent cat facing, those puckers and lines on the top of the tomato. Just cut it off and eat the rest. This is caused by cool weather during flowering. Blossom end rot is caused because the plant didn’t get enough calcium and was watered unevenly.  Don’t run out and pour a quart of milk on it, just keep it mulched and well watered the rest of the season. 

Cracking of tomatoes and cabbages is caused by a sudden growth spurt. High temps after a cool week or rain after a dry week will do it. Sun scald is tomato sunburn. Either the plant has lost leaves to disease, or you trimmed too many off.  

If you have a zucchini that is over producing, just leave one zuc on the vine and it will slow down. That is unless the over zucced  neighbors have already pulled it out.  Keep weeding and keep watering. Next year has to be better!