University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
HARVESTING ONIONS AND OTHER
AUGUST GARDENING TIPS
Nardozzi, Horticulturist and
Perry, UVM Extension Horticulturist
Harvesting onions and storing
properly, freezing fresh corn, and dividing certain perennials are
some of the
gardening activities for this month.
onions when about half to three quarters of the leaves have died
dig or pull the onions and store them in a dry, shady place with
ventilation, such as an outdoor shed or barn, for 10 days to two
the onions have cured, separate the young, soft, and thick-necked
bulbs and use
them first because they won't store well.
Put the rest in slatted crates or mesh bags, and store them indoors
basement with low humidity and temperatures between 33 and 45
the fresh-picked flavor of corn on the cob for winter meals. Cook
the cobs as
usual, then using a special corn scraper or a sharp knife, cut off
and freeze them in freezer bags. They will be much tastier than any
store-bought frozen or canned corn.
It’s time to start some mesclun greens and leaf
lettuce in bare spots in the garden for fall picking. Mix in some
before seeding and give new seedlings a dose of liquid fish
Build the nutrient levels and
organic matter in garden beds by sowing cover crops like annual
buckwheat into empty annual beds. They will grow until winter kills
then can be incorporated into the soil in spring. Cut down buckwheat
flowers so seeds don't become a problem.
removing the old mulch under roses and raking up all leaves and
this organic matter may seem beneficial, there are many rose disease
and insects that overwinter there, and you can reduce the damage to
next year by getting rid of it all.
shrubs, and perennials are on sale, and late summer into early fall
is a great
time to plant. Get new plants in the ground then so they can begin
their root systems. If you don't have the final spot ready, sink the
root balls temporarily in an empty area in the veggie garden. Water
them if nature
doesn't provide enough.
summer is a good time to divide German and Siberian iris, rudbeckia,
daylilies, and tall phlox. If plants are
blooming well, with strong stems, and you still have space for them,
shouldn’t need division. Don't make the
divisions too small or you'll wait longer for blooms. Wait until
after bloom to
divide. Trim the foliage by at least
half before replanting.
Be sure to set bearded iris rhizomes
(the thick roots) just barely below the soil surface to prevent
rotting. When dividing these iris, check the rhizomes
for mushy areas with borers. Discard
affected roots, making sure to kill the borers.
You can savor the smells and
memories of summer this winter by making potpourri from your roses,
mint, and other fragrant garden herbs and flowers. Pick the flowers
in early morning soon after
the dew has evaporated. Dry petals and
flower heads, until crisp, on a screen or newspaper in a warm spot
direct sunlight. Or, you can use an oven
set at its lowest temperature. Mix the
dried plants with orris root (from many grocery and health food
among the spices) to preserve the flavor.
Age and store in an airtight container in the dark.
(Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist,
author, gardening consultant, and garden coach; CharlieNardozzi.com).