Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2013 - 92
M 25 Garden Tips for
from assessing (don’t plant too closely)
to zucchini (don’t let them get as big as
ball bats), here’s how to grow better.
Here are 25 gardening tips (and a
couple of great recipes) – one for
each letter of the alphabet (except X)
to carry you from July through
October, which begins with the season’s hottest weather and most likely
ends with your first killing frost.
Assess: Summer is when you learn
whether you planted too closely; forgot that something tall would block
the sun from reaching a shorter
neighbor; planted too much, (or too
little) of family favorites. Take notes
for next season.
Bees: Honeybees are beset by
mites and by a phenomenon called
colony collapse disorder. Fortunately,
native bees, large and small, can take
up the slack in your home garden.
Keep them around with plantings of
cosmos, sunflowers, herbs and buckwheat (a great summer “green
manure”: allow to flower, then work
into soil before it sets seed).
Can: Put up your excess produce.
Don’t want to can, or don’t have
enough for a canning run? Freeze
instead. On a low-sodium diet?
Except in pickles or relishes, omit salt.
It’s added for flavor, not to preserve.
Deadhead: A plant’s goal is to set
seed; your goal with flowers is to
keep them blooming. To have your
way, remove spent blossoms from
marigolds, butterfly bush, zinnias,
Eat: Don’t get so carried away preserving your garden’s bounty that you
forget that fresh is best. Make salads,
stirfries, cold soups, ‘mater sandwiches and berry smoothies part of
your summer staples.
92 | BlueRidgeCountry.com
Fall garden: Fall’s the time to enjoy
a second harvest of cool-weather veggies (radishes, kale, cabbage, spinach,
mustard greens, broccoli, etc.); they
can withstand occasional frost. The
challenge though is getting them
started, in the hottest part of the
summer, so they’ll mature before days
get too short. Shade and mulch seedlings and keep them moist, or sow
under lights and transplant outside
when summer wanes.
Garlic: Most garlic comes out of
the garden in July. Before it matures,
enjoy chopped scapes (flower stalks
produced by hardneck varieties) in
stirfries. Save the best heads to break
into cloves and plant in October.
Heirloom tomatoes: Tops in taste,
heirlooms are more susceptible to
blight than hybrids. Grow a few that
set fruit early; at first sign of late
blight (gooey black spots on leaves),
harvest every fruit capable of ripening and dispose of plants (not in the
Identify: Be able to identify beneficial insects in all life stages so you
don’t mistake them for bad bugs.
Know what ladybug eggs and larvae
look like. Don’t wipe out your allies
because you mistake them for something else.
Jams and jellies: Jams and jellies
taste great and make wonderful gifts,
but who wants to heat up the kitchen
sterilizing jars when it’s hot if you
don’t have to? Why not mash berries,
freeze the pulp and make jam in winter instead?
Kohlrabi: This odd-looking member
of the cabbage family – its leaves grow
Top: Solitary bees love cosmos.
from a bulbous base that looks as
though it ought to be underground –
is good raw or cooked. Add a purple or
pale green variety to your fall garden.
Leaves: Rake ‘em, bag ‘em, compost ‘em, mulch with ‘em. They’re
free – and add organic matter to your
soil. That increases its ability to absorb