Gardening Tips: Sage Advice for Late Summer

Editor’s Note: This column last appeared on 21 August 2019


What to do this week

Michelle Smith is busy weeding, so here are some of her mid- to late-summer tips from seasons past:

On 23 August  2017 she had some advice on storing all that produce you’re harvesting at this point in summer, notably the root vegetables:

If you planted carrots in the spring, you will be starting to harvest them soon, too. You can wash carrots before storage, it doesn’t seem to bother them like it bothers potatoes. Actually, carrots can become discolored if you don’t wash them, so better to wash.

Beets, ready for storage. (Photo by Madeline Yakimchuk)

Beets, ready for storage. (Photo by Madeline Yakimchuk)

Don’t cut the carrot tops completely — leave a bit, as it will actually keep the carrot alive in storage. The same goes for beets, which you will also likely be harvesting now. Leave just a bit of the stem to help keep the plant alive and healthy. Some people twist the excess carrot tops off, and beet tops as well. This could leave you with squished or otherwise damaged stems. Better to cut them with scissors for storage.

(You may not have realized that your stored root vegetables are still alive during storage, but they are. If you keep a bit of the healthy stem and the root, you can actually take a big bite out of a beet, plant what’s left in spring, and it will grow!)

On 5 September 2018, Michelle turned her attention to fruit:

This week can be all about tidying up in the garden, especially around your fruit trees and berry bushes. Of course you will be busy with harvest, that goes without saying, but these perennials also need some attention now. Let’s talk about apples first.

You may have noticed that some of your apple trees have been dropping some of their fruit. This is common, and is usually the tree getting rid of excess, deformed or damaged fruit so it can concentrate on the best of what it has to grow. Clean up all that fallen fruit right away. Don’t leave it on the ground giving any pest it may carry to complete its lifecycle while over-wintering in the soil beneath your trees.

Featured image: Royal Gala apples by David Adam Kess, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Market gardener, farmer, workshop leader, seed-saver, political candidate and mother, Michelle Smith has spent over 30 years coping with the challenges of our bioregion and in the process has built a store of practical and technical knowledge. The Inverness resident has served on the board of Seeds of Diversity Canada and represented Alternative Producers with the Federation of Agriculture but can do nothing about her hair. She is pictured with a head of Club Wheat, a seed that shares her approach to hairdressing.