Sunday, August 3, 2014

July 17th Meeting Highlights

Gailene Powell's gardening tips:

  • Put tomato cages around peonies when they are leafing out. The cages will support the blooms but be hidden by the mature foliage.
  • If you cut peonies for the house, stand the vase in water in the sink overnight to get rid of ants.
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds on your garden beds to deter cats
  • If you are planting bamboo, buy 80 mil bamboo rhizome barrier material to install around the roots so that the bamboo doesn't spread further than you want.
Michael Kluckner's advice on vegetables:

• You can continue to plant lettuce, spinach, kale and Swiss chard until early August and count on getting the plants established before winter. All of them, even including the lettuce if it is mulched for protection, will make it through the winter and give fresh spring greens next March/April, well before any new plants can grow.

• Try planting peas again – my Spring pea crop planted in April has been fried by the hot sun and needs to be clipped off and cleared away. However, leave the old pea roots in the ground as they will continue to fix nitrogen into the soil.

• August is the time for constant harvesting of beans, broccoli, arugula and lettuce. Keep clipping them and eating or freezing them, as the plants will try to set seed and then die if you don't.

• Onions will bulb up above the ground and look ready for harvest. Make sure you harden them off (as you would do with garlic) by laying the plants out somewhere exposed to sun but protected from rain and dew until the vegetation dries off. They will then keep for a much longer time in a cool dry place like a basement.

• If you still have potatoes in the ground, harvest them and put them in cardboard boxes in the coolest, darkest place you can find. Don't wash them before putting them away or do anything to disturb their skins.

• Try to water only the soil, not the plant leaves, and try not to leave dampness on the leaves overnight. August is the season where the dew begins to fall and mildew can become a problem, especially on tomatoes.

• Harvest basil before the end of August and either dry it (hang the plant upside down in a warm place) or process it with a little garlic and oil into a "pre-pesto" paste for freezing.