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NATURE’S TURN: Harvest and reseed. Revel in flowers, relish fruits

Among the late summer bloomers in my landscape are a fragrant heirloom phlox, Japanese anemone, Oswego tea, Russian sage and New York ironweed, all perennials.

August 27 – September 9, 2018

Mount Washington — In evening twilight, a group of lavender pink native monarda drew me over for a parting look before leaving the garden. On one of the blossoms, a great bumblebee slept; tucked in under the sepals of an adjacent flower, a smaller bee rested. In the morning, the chilliest of the summer, I stopped by the monarda to see the sleeping bees. The sun was low in the east, seen through the forest on the east-southeast edge of my garden. By 8 o’clock, the small bee had left its bed; the large one hung on to sleep, not moving until the sun bathed it in light and heat, over an hour later.

Late July garden: center foreground, onions fallen over. Far right, garlic with yellowing leaves. Far left, early pea vines have been removed from trellis.
Photo: Judy Isacoff

The photograph of my garden in late July captures three to four months of growth, when vegetables planted in early spring are at their peak. The late August image shows where crops were harvested and succession crops have replaced them or have yet to be sown; most notable is the ascendancy of flowers. Among the late summer bloomers in my landscape are a fragrant heirloom phlox, Japanese anemone, Oswego tea, Russian sage and New York ironweed, all perennials. Annuals include nasturtium, borage and the dramatic castor bean and amaranth.

Late August garden: Onion bed to be prepared for sowing summer spinach, Asian greens. Note flowering plants. Compare to July image. Photo: Judy Isacoff

Many vegetable plants bear attractive blossoms that contribute to the vibrancy of the landscape. The deep pink flowers of Trionfo violetto – Botanical Interests’ prolific purple pole bean – and the classic scarlet runner bean delight the eye. The latter is one of the hummingbird’s favorite drinking cups. Bumblebees tread deep into squash blossoms and bury their heads in cucumber flowers.

Kerry Michelle Wilson finishing touch after planting Egyptian onion bulblets in bed cleared of cover crop. Trimmed chive plant, left. Aug. 17, 2018. Photo: Judy Isacoff

Following an abundant harvest of snap peas, cucumber vines climb up and trail along 12 feet of a 20-feet-long, 5-feet-tall trellis: The vines are like ribbons strung with yellow star flowers, female and male, and formative fruit. There are many fewer females, their prickly ovaries swollen at the base of the blossoms; we are expectant. Sown on June 2, pickling cucumbers offered their first fruits about three weeks ago, not far off the promise of harvests to begin in 55 days. High Mowing Lemon Cucumber claims 68 days to maturity. As anticipated, these have just begun to produce. Overall, many of the warm season vegetables have been slow to fruit in my garden this year.

Turtle Tree Seed Ronde De Nice and Dark Green Zucchini, also sown in four-packs on June 2, as well as nursery grown, mostly heirloom tomatoes, are slow to ripen, although we are enjoying every delicious bite. Tomatoes seem to be ripening all at once. Dry weather at the beginning of the season, then torrential rainstorms and few sunny days may be contributing factors. Also, I am overdue for soil tests.

Garlic harvested nearly a month ago has cured, the heads ready to be cut off their stems and hung in mesh bags. Onions recently harvested are curing in the sun. Potato harvest is ongoing. As soon as beds are cleared, rake off any mulch, spread compost, aerate with a spading fork or broadfork and seed to radishes, short season turnips, Asian greens and lettuces. Alternatively, begin to sow winter cover crops.

Opportunity to participate

Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group Symposium – https://cipwg.uconn.edu/

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