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August- What's in Kate's Garden?

 

In My Garden (Zone 5-6)

Kate Copsey
Kate has relocated many times giving her experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.

Sometimes I make the same mistake year after year – plant too many squash and forget how large they get! In some parts of the garden that is great in others they are covering the footpath which is not quite as convenient. The raspberries and tomatoes are also taking some time to corral into an upright form rather than drape of the pathway. Overall the vegetable garden is doing much better than last year and it is very productive and lush. Beans, cherry tomatoes and squash are all ripe, while the main crop of tomatoes and peppers are just coming ripe. A new vegetable in the garden this year is the winter spaghetti squash which is growing a mile a minute and already putting out fruit.

Patty Cake Squash

So far though the bugs and problems have been few and far between. With the humidity in late July I had expected powdery mildew on the squash but only one leaf has shown any sign of the problem. Earlier in the month though I was besieged with caterpillars and slugs in the cabbage beds. This was the first time in a long time that I have had such an issue and even with plenty of hungry birds around there were lots of holes in many of the outer leaves of the cabbages. They did recover slightly after I covered them. There are a few squash bugs starting to show, but they have not done much damage either yet and I am busy picking off the immature stage – a strange yellow bug that is covered with prickle. He was allowed to stay on the leaf just until I had a photograph of him.

Immature Squash Bug

The flower garden is doing well considering that it doesn’t get watered very much in summer. Last year was the first year with the garden and shrubs were small as well as well as being well spaced out. This year they have filled in along with the perennials and the whole garden looks a lot more colorful.

Russian Sage and Cleome

Anise Hyssop

The cutting garden is also getting full and is filled with annuals that are supposed to be picked regularly. A little like the beans, if you do not pick the flowers off, the plants stop making them. I have always thought that cutting gardens were large and attached to country mansions but I talked to Lisa Mason Ziegler and she suggested a 10x4 raised bed would be fine for just a few vases of flowers a week. So far I have picked Bells of Ireland, some little larkspur and forget-me-nots. I like to think that all the flowers in this bed let it double as a pollinator garden too.

Larkspur and Forget-me-nots in the cutting garden

Finally I made a start on my fall veggies – cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbages were all sown at the beginning of last month. We went away for a few days, so I left them in the shade uncovered. The seedlings were in self watering trays – ie no holes and you water from the bottom of the tray. Alas there was a rain storm before we got back and the lack of drainage caused not just waterlogged soil, but the seedlings floated away with the overflow from the trays. So I have a second round germinating and hopefully I will have better luck with these.

 

 

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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • Fall salad crops can be difficult to start because garden soil is often very warm when seeds need to be planted. To trick the internal mechanism that allows seeds to germinate in warm ground, freeze them for a week or two.
    Or start seeds indoors in flats where it’s cool, and transplant seedlings into the garden immediately after germination. Be sure to include winter or cold-hardy lettuce varieties when planting. They will take temperatures down into the 20s with little or no protection. ‘Little Caesar’, Buttercrunch’ lettuces, ‘Frizz E’endive and ‘Baby’s Leaf Hybrid’ spinach are good choices. When the thermometer dips below freezing, lay an old bed sheet or floating row cover directly over the lettuce, endive and spinach for protection.