Summer harvest begins

Yep! I'm going to be eating a lot of fried green tomatoes. I did spot a few booths at the Boyne City Farmers Market with ripe tomatoes, but these booths only had a small supply. Bill's Farm Market had some nice heirlooms on Friday when I stopped there on my way home and Coveyou Scenic Farm on U.S. 131 had some medium sized tomatoes with great flavor. I had to make my favorite summer sandwich, a BLT as soon as I got home with my local tomatoes and lettuce. Speaking of farm markets, did you know this is National Farm Market week?

I'm thrilled with the occasional bouts of rain we've been getting. Not only are my gardens beautiful, but I don't have to drag around hoses to keep them that way. It's also been much easier to pull weeds shortly after a nice shower. I checked in my book "Weeds of the Northeast" and confirmed what I thought, that ragweed is an annual weed. Therefore, if I keep the flower heads mowed and don't permit them to bloom and go to seed, I can control them without using chemicals. They also pull very easily if you don't let them get huge.  

I am frequently asked by fellow gardeners if it is necessary to deadhead daylilies. I do for two reasons. First, I deadhead for the esthetic look and secondly because I have previously noticed that damp wilting blooms can get wrapped around unopened blooms and prevent them from opening. Be careful to gently bend the spent bloom downward to remove or snip off with shears. It's very easy to accidentally break off the entire group of blooms.

Now is the time of year to start watching for sales at your garden centers and take advantage of their great deals on annuals and perennials. It's fine to plant perennials through September. If I find a great deal after September or if I find a plant I like, but I'm not sure where I want to plant it, I just tuck it in for the winter, in my cleaned out veggie garden, right in its pot until spring. Be sure to label your pots so that seven months later you can identify your plants. Gardening supplies will also be going on sale, such as a spare pair of gloves, or an extra trowel.

With the cooler weather hanging around, this would be a good time to plant grass. It's just warm enough for grass seed to sprout, but cool enough that the little grass seedlings won't burn. Water your prepared area, sprinkle with seed, press the seed down to make good soil contact, cover with a light layer of straw and keep damp. The straw will keep weed seeds from contact the bare soil.

Would you like to learn about preserving your harvest? If you do, you might want to check out Bliss Farm's website They have a commercially licensed, community kitchen you can rent to can your own fruits and vegetables. They also have food preservation classes this month.

Cydney Steeb, Advanced Master Gardener, can be contacted at Emmet Conservation District, 3434 M-119, Harbor Springs (231) 439-8977 or Her Gardening Wit and Wisdom column runs every Wednesday.

Featured Stories



Top Trending Videos