Hands in the dirt: MLT gardening tips for September


I’m not ready for the end of summer, but the garden has already started the change of seasons. Many plants can now benefit from pruning. Tomato and squash plants can continue to flower long past the pre-frost fruit ripening date. Pruning the growing tip may cause the plant to expend energy on ripening existing fruit, rather than producing new flowers.

If powdery mildew starts showing up on your plans, you can prune the affected leaves to increase airflow, or treat the plant with a foliar spray – a mixture of neem oil, Castile soap, and water. or diluted milk would work well. to treat powdery mildew as a spray on the leaves. If powdery mildew is already well established and starting to gain the upper hand, it may be time to pull the plants out to make room for fall crops like kale, swiss chard, and lettuce, which it can still be found in most nurseries for at least the first half of the month.

This is the last call to sow these fall and winter crops. Kale and Swiss chard, if planted within the next week or two, can provide you with some green vegetables in the next few months, as they are cold hardy enough to withstand our mild winters. Lettuce won’t survive frost, but a packet of seeds costs about the same as a head of lettuce from the store, and it may be worth experimenting with late-season varieties.

Are your winter squash and pumpkins ready to harvest? If you are unsure, leave the plants on the vine for as long as possible to make sure they are ripe, and harvest when the stem and skin are tough. For winter squash and pumpkins, harvest when the skin has gone from soft like a zucchini to hard enough that you cannot easily puncture it with your thumbnail, and usually goes from shiny to a dull, dull appearance. dry. Harvest with pruning shears, leaving 2 to 4 inches of stem. Some varieties of winter squash keep longer if they are “dried” – stored in a warm place (80 to 85 ° F) with good air circulation for 10 to 14 days. Drying Hubbard, Buttercup, Butternut, and Spaghetti Blue Squash can increase storage time for up to several months. However, Acorn and Delicata squash do not need to be dried, and leaving them at warm temperatures can reduce their shelf life and quality. Growing Trombochino squash like us? Harvest now and treat it like a summer squash, or let it ripen on the vine and treat it like a winter squash. What versatility!

Big changes are coming to the raised bed area of ​​the BOG. Look at our Facebook page for an evening of work at the end of the month.

We would love your help!

About the BOG

The Ballinger Organic Garden is a volunteer-led effort to develop a community garden at Ballinger Park. The BOG, in partnership with MLT Recreation & Parks and the MLT Senior Center and funded by a grant from the MLT Community Foundation, is currently in “Phase 0” while larger construction activities (stream restoration and trail installation) are completed. Phase 0 involves the maintenance of the existing raised beds and a garden plot on the south side of the MLT Senior Center in Ballinger Park. Phase 1 will involve the installation of a larger garden with plots available for community members to maintain. Do you feel like volunteering, or have an idea of ​​what you want to see in the future garden? Please let us know.

To stay up to date with what’s happening at BOG, including what’s developing, working parties and events, follow us on Facebook Where Instagram.

– By Robyn Rice

Robyn Rice grew up in eastern Washington, pulling weeds and picking up rotten fruit as dreaded tasks assigned by his master gardener father. Today, Robyn is a fisheries biologist for an environmental consulting firm and has been gardening in the Seattle area since 2010. His scientific knowledge leads to endless research into the ‘right’ way to do things, but his enthusiasm and her sense of adventure lead her to garden fearless because hey, what’s the worst that can happen?


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