Peonies can be dug up and replanted now

Garden Q & A

September 28, 1997

My "green thumb" neighbor said I could come and dig up some of her peonies to transplant into my yard. Is this a good time to do it? Will they bloom for me next spring?

This is a very good time to transplant peonies and most other perennials. Carefully dig the crowns and roots and replant so that the "eyes" (next year's new shoots) are about 2 inches below the soil. Tamp the soil down after planting and mulch your new plants after the first hard freeze. Keep in mind, though, that even if you follow correct planting procedures, you may not see blooms until the second year.

I read that it's a good idea to plant a cover crop in the vegetable garden. Is there still time? What kinds of seed should I plant?

Cover crops help to hold the soil in place over the winter, smother weeds, conserve soil nutrients and add organic matter next spring when you turn the crop under. It's not too late to buy and plant winter wheat or winter rye (not ryegrass) seed. Sow it at the rate of half a cup per 100 square feet of garden area.

Cover crops will regrow in the spring, so be sure to turn them under early in the season. At the latest, do this at least two weeks before you plan to plant your garden. A spade or rototiller will do the job.

Are there some fall vegetable crops I can plant now that will overwinter in the garden and re-grow in the spring?

Spinach, Asian mustards, mizuna, sorrel and corn salad are cold-hardy salad crops that frequently overwinter. Kale, rape and collards will survive mild winters in the Baltimore area. Most lettuce varieties succumb to temperatures below 20 degrees.

Cover your fall garden with a floating row cover, cold frame or mini-greenhouse to extend the harvest.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For more information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507 or visit its Web site at http: //


* Pull up, shred and compost spent annual plants. Plants or fruits with severe diseases (fusarium in tomatoes, for example) should be discarded with the trash.

* Plant trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.

* Control broadleaf perennial weeds (clover, plantain, dandelion) and winter annual weeds (henbit, deadnettle) with a herbicide. Follow label directions carefully.

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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