Preparing for the Fall Harvest

Here's some timely gardening advice as the fall harvest approaches.

| August/September 2006

For most people, the sweltering dog days of August don’t inspire thoughts about the cool days of late September and October. Savvy gardeners however know the weather will turn in just a few weeks. Some are putting in a fall garden to wring as much as they can from the growing season, while others are getting ready for the fall harvest. Experts from around the country describe what you should do and what to expect depending on your weather region.

Maritime Canada and New England

These are the days of fresh salsa. By September we will be dropping buckets of excess tomatoes on neighbors’ porches in the dead of night. Watch the garlic — when the bottom leaf or two die back, it’s time to harvest. A celebration of aioli (garlic sauce) and fresh vegetables is in order.

Get beds ready for fall spinach and greens, and plant these in early August. In the orchard, mow grass close to the ground and weed around trunks. Check for borers, web worms and other pests, and clean up early fruit drops to interrupt insect life cycles.

As currants, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries ripen, it’s time for jam making. If you are pressed for time, freeze berries in bulk for processing later. Watch for borer larvae in berry canes, indicated by a wilting tip above a double ring on the stem. Cut the cane below the ring line and burn. Regular monitoring can greatly reduce populations of this pest.

Roberta Bailey, FEDCO Seeds, Waterville, Maine

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