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      U.P. Gardening Tip - August 13, 2009

      Gardens will peak all around the Upper Peninsula now and through the next two weeks. It TMs a time to sit back for a spell and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, if gardeners plan an autumn harvest, there TMs not a moment to lose. It TMs time to plant a second crop of radishes and lettuce now. Keep the seedlings moist and covered from the hot August sun. These vegs do best in cooler weather and with careful nurturing, gardeners can possibly have a fresh fall harvest.

      Gardeners who don TMt plan a fall harvest may consider doctoring their late summer flowers and vegetables. The following are two popular remedies.

      Try the, Robust Rose Tonic:Mix in the following ingredients in a pail (2 gallons) of warm water. 2 cups used tea leaves and coffee grounds mixed with the old dregs of last night TMs red wine.A cup or so of fish scales from a recently cleaned fish. (A generous dash of baking soda mixed in will neutralize the tincture.) Add 2 teaspoons of Iron (available at garden centers) or pound a rusty iron railroad spike in the ground near the rose bush roots. Pour a quart on each rosebush-and your roses will bloom and bloom well into September. My record, according to my New Millennium Garden Journal was: Lo, a rose ~ere blooming, on Oct. 06, 2008. It was the 4th anniversary of my mother, Grandma Pat TMs, death. The scientific minds in my family explain this as global warming. I, however, believe in the magic factor.

      Another late summer garden tip is the, Tomato Blight Buster: 1/2 cup powdered non fat milk 1/4 cup Epson salts (don TMt use this if you have a deer problem)1 tablespoon of baking soda Sprinkle a handful of this dry mixture on the top of the soil at the base of each tomato plant. It will ward off common tomato viruses.

      The dog days of August have arrived and for the time being, my chores are finished. I plan to relax and enjoy a glass of ice tea. In just about ten days, give or take, it will be time to pull the canner and canning jars out of storage. Meanwhile, I watch and await that first sweet vine ripened tomato. There TMs nothing tastier.

      TV6 Contributor - Donna Campbell, Master Gardener

      Check out our TV6 Family Garden page for daily tips, local growing tips, and news and video, plus helpful links to gardening fun.