Garden to-do’s heading into September

Mon. Aug. 28, 2017

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Garden to-do’s heading into September

This is the last week of August, some kids are already in school, some will be heading back next week.  We generally get some pretty nice weather around this time, but where I live, it’s been cooler and wetter.

In fact, the lawn was getting pretty thick, with weeds mostly, but still green and thick!  Usually we could go a couple of weeks before mowing.

That said, there are some things to do in the garden.  Harvest, of course is ongoing.  My tomatoes are bursting right now, I also mean cracking some too. But that’s okay, I’ve been using them in stir fry and salads, dehydrating and I plan on roasting soon.

cracked cherry tomato

dehydrated tomatoes ‘sungold’ and ‘sweet million’

As I wandered the gardens I noticed plenty of red aphids on my heliopsis.  But there were also soldier beetles, that’s a good thing.  Still, if you find aphids, give them a shot of water and blast them off, just not so hard you damage your plants.  You can spray water on the top and undersides of foliage, early in the mornings, to control them.

red aphids on heliopsis. Notice the soldier beetle

Right about now, you can pinch off any new tomato flowers to direct energy to ripening fruit.  PS, I had ONE tomato that got blossom end rot!  I call THAT a success!   Pinch off any blossoms now.  Odds are slim they would ever become a ripe tomato.  The energy of the plant will then go into ripening the tomatoes you have!

rot, but not on the blossom end!

Be prepared to protect plants from early frost, according to NOAA, we in the Upper Midwest have a 50/50 chance at cooler temps.  As I said, we already have.  So… get those sheets ready to toss on your tomatoes!  Or peppers, which mine were really late this year.

If your perennials have finished flowering for the season, you can divide them, if you so desire!

Dig the entire plant out.  I like to use a garden fork to get as many roots as possible with minimal damage.  Divide in half or quarters … or whatever looks right.  Just make sure there are enough roots to sink in your soil!

It’s also time to start trading out your trashed annuals for some Fall annuals such as mums.  Spinach, Kale and other leafy crops can be planted now for a late Fall harvest.