Preparing for Late Summer Harvest and Beyond
by Sandy Swegel
I was surfing the garden internet last night at Garden Rant http://gardenrant.com/2012/06/grazing-my-way-through-the-lull.html where blogger Michele Owens is lamenting the midsummer lull in her vegetable garden. It’s so true, late June is a difficult time in both the vegetable and flower garden. There was the wild early June flush of color on roses and spring perennials. Mid-June brought peas and tons of chard and kale and spinach. But the intense unusual heat of the last couple of weeks made the spinach and arugula bolt and the peas and fava beans quickly went hard in their shells. Tomatoes are full of flowers and tiny green tomatoes, but there’s not much for eating. The one exception is zucchini…The zucchini are pumping out a new zucchini or two a day….but it’s hard to find other vegetables for dinner. How can the basil be so small when I started them months ago?
The flower garden is similar. The hot season rudbeckias are finally starting but there isn’t the lushness the garden of a few weeks ago had. First of July is a great time to notice what’s in bloom in your (or your neighbor’s) vegetable and flower garden and vow to plant that this year or next. Ideas I’m stealing that look great in this otherwise lulling time:
Leek seed heads. I let the leeks perennialize and plant themselves each year….so right now the flower heads are tall and a lovely pink, covered with bees.
Monarda. Drifts of monarda are abloom…and full of bees and butterflies.
Echinacea. Although some think of echinacea as a full sun xeric plant, it is at its prettiest with some shade and with irrigation. Some of the nicest echinaceas grow at the edge of apple trees where the extra coolness makes them vibrant.
Daylilies. Get the camera out so you can document the daylilies you really like (in your yard or your neighbor’s) so you can make divisions next Spring.
It’s great anticipating the bounty that’s about to burst in mid-July. Hard to believe during this lull that we’ll soon be leaving tomatoes on the vine because there are too many to eat.