Summer gardenflourishing, but preparing for fall

For the many friends of Janet Delturco, she would love to hear from you as she recuperates from a medical issue that will prevent her from visiting her sister in August. Her address is 2395 E. CR 36, Tiffin, and her email address is janetdelturco@yahoo.com. We visited and she was worried about her swiss chard and kale but her 33 varieties of herbs are doing well.

Peas, spinach and zucchini were planted five days ago and the spinach and zucchini have already germinated. The zucchini were from a packet marked “plant by 2010” so I wasn’t sure what kind of germination there would be and I planted all remaining seeds. So far two are up.

The spring planted zucchini gets tired by now, and sometimes there is vine borer, so I replant to continue the supply into the fall.

People make fun of zucchini, and it’s true I do give some away (but only to people who want it). But beside zucchini bread and muffins (which freeze nicely for a taste of summer in January) and batter dipped slices, I just discovered the vegetable “pasta” maker that you put a zucchini in and get strands that can be added to a little oil and sautéd to deliciousness.

Spinach and peas grow well in the cool fall weather, which will arrive about the time they get growing. It is lovely having fresh spinach in the fall.

Potatoes and garlic are harvested. Potatoes get a bath before storage in either the vegetable bin of the refrigerator (where they never sprout and will keep a year) or in the cool basement (where they eventually will sprout if not eaten first). Garlic gets dried outside with a couple of heads set aside for fall planting, then the rest is moved inside.

Speaking of garlic, its early but garden planning begins soon because garlic gets planted mid-fall. All my vegetables get rotated through the several raised beds so there’s a diagram of where everything was this year and past years. Garlic will be planted in a bed it has not been planted in before, this must be coordinated with harvesting what remains and getting fresh compost the first part of October to refill the beds.

Another thing to plan for the fall is planting. Fall is the best time to plant bulbs, trees and shrubs, and perennials that you’d like to move.

The new front herb and spring bulb garden is skimpy on both, so I plan to plant some spring flowering bulbs. Evaluating other plants in the garden shows plants that need to be moved. Phlox that was supposed to perfume the deck area is now in the shade of a maple and will get moved to a sunnier spot. A pretty white and purple lily was overwhelmed by a robust orange one and will get transferred to some place where it can be seen.

Yew bushes get trimmed twice a year to keep them from getting too big and to maintain the shape. Now is a good time to cut the new brighter green growth since the stems will resprout but still have enough time to harden off before a freeze.

Enjoy the flowers, vegetables and greenery of summer, and keep Janet in your prayers.

Susan Carty is a local gardener and a professor emerita of biology at Heidelberg University.

Contact her via: newsroom@advertiser-tribune.com