Archived Story

August gardening tips [UPDATED]

Published 9:23am Tuesday, September 4, 2012 Updated 11:27am Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It doesn’t seem to matter how many tomato plants you have, you hardly ever have enough tomatoes at one time to a make a full batch of anything. Here’s one way to solve that problem.

Pick fruit as it ripens. Wash it and remove stems and any blemishes. Now for the easy part, drop the clean tomatoes in a clean plastic grocery bag and dump it in the freezer. When you have enough frozen fruit for your spaghetti sauce, take them out the night before you plan to cook and lay them one deep in a pan. By morning, you can slip the skins off simply by grabbing the tomato and it’s ready to use.

Some of the liquid will have collected in the bottom of the pan. You can add this, but if you don’t your liquid will just be a bit thicker and more “tomatoey.”

Vine crops go wild when the temperatures are high. Unfortunately while they are growing vines, they don’t stop to ripen fruit. Grab the end of your vine and follow it back to either a flower or an unripened fruit. Cut it off there.

This scares the plant into thinking it better get things ripened as it has been attacked. Use this technique for squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons and tomatoes.

Pull any vegetables that are done producing. Why let them continue to eat if they aren’t feeding you.

Now that you have more room, plant radishes, lettuce and spinach for a fall crop.

If your mulch is getting thin or even nonexistent, renew it to prevent those nasty ripening weed seeds from finding a nice place this winter.

Keep picking garden produce as it ripens as some plants will stop producing if ripe vegetables are left on the plant. Remove any overripe fruit unless you enjoy the company of yellow jackets . They just love rotting fruit.

Spring bulb catalogs are arriving in your mailbox now. That is a hint from the companies to get your order in early.

Many of the companies order their bulbs from Holland. If you wait too long, you may not get what you want or, you could be planting bulbs with a pickax in November.

Just ask Bunkey how much fun that is. An even bigger problem with getting bulbs too late for our climate is that they don’t have enough time to develop roots before the ground freezes. A thick layer of mulch can help but why procrastinate?

Many annuals are producing seeds now. If you don’t mind surprises, let them reseed where they stand.

Birds will spread some of them, of course, so they will pop up in unexpected places.

However, if you are a Martha, collect the seeds and put them where you want them.

Deadhead any flower you don’t want reproducing and continue to deadhead all flowers for continuing blooms.


Bev Johnson is a master gardener for Otter Tail County

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