GARDENER’S CHECKLIST: Week of August 5, 2021 –


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Harvest summer squash when they are about 6 inches long to get the most tender and tastiest.

Harvest zucchini and yellow squash when the fruit are about 6 inches long. This is when they are most tender, have thinner skins, and taste best. If they get much larger than that, turn them into zoodles, that is, zucchini noodles, a great substitute for pasta. We used to make our zoodles with a julienne peeler but have since invested in a spiralizer which makes the task even easier. A mandolin provides a third option for making the zoodles.
Avoid picking green beans when the plants are wet. Diseases of beans spread easily in moisture, so it’s a good idea to stay away from the plants entirely when they are wet.
Harvest garlic if you have not already done that. Tie the plants in bunches of 10 or 12 and hang these in a dry and airy place, such as a garden shed, for about three or four weeks to cure. Any garlic bulbs in which the cloves have separated should be used soon as these will not store well.
Garlic bulbs in which the cloves have separated should be used soon after harvest, as they will not store as long as those with the tight protective wrapper.
Put leftover seeds in airtight jars and store these in the refrigerator. Wrap one teaspoon of powdered milk or a tablespoon of rice in tissue paper and place it into the jar to absorb moisture. Don’t bother saving seeds of sweet corn, onion, and parsnip since these lose much of their viability after one year.
Shop for flowering annuals to replace tired and spindly annuals in gardens, patio pots, flower boxes, or hanging baskets. Fresh annuals can also be set in perennial borders that are deficient in late summer blooming flowers. Yes, it’s getting late, but spry annuals are still available and at bargain prices at garden centers. Besides, I’m banking on a late frost much like we’ve had the last two or three years. It’s worth the gamble.
Plant fall blooming chrysanthemums in flower gardens. These fall classics are just beginning to show up at garden centers.
Place mosquito control “donuts” or “dunks” in garden ponds, rain barrels, and other bodies of standing water. This organic product contains a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis that infects and kills mosquito larvae. As an additional precaution, empty water in bird baths every few days and replace with fresh water. Get rid of unwanted containers of standing water that could serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Keep tugging at those weeds. This is the time of year when many weed plants are setting seed. Letting just one of these mature will keep you on your knees (weeding or praying) for many years to come.
Prune back the flowering portions of herbs to promote more growth of the foliage.
Pruning back the flowering stems of herbs such as this sweet marjoram will promote more leafy growth.

I’ve always admired the thyme lawns I once saw in England, but never thought of planting one of my own. Now I have one, but I didn’t plant it. A lawn area with very coarse and shallow soil has been overrun by wild thyme. It’s quite nice. It doesn’t have to be mowed. It can withstand some foot traffic, and I get to enjoy the aromatic scent every time I walk across the thyme. Only problem is: when it’s in bloom, I have to watch out for the bees – no tip toeing through the thyme patch for me.
If you have an area of lawn where grass struggles to survive because of poor soil, i.e. coarse and dry, consider planting thyme. Probably the easiest technique is to stir up the soil and direct seed any of the creeping-type thymes. Or, start plants from seed sown in flats indoors in early spring. Then transplant the thyme, spacing plants about 6 to 8 inches apart. In no thyme..uh, time, you’ll have a good thyme lawn.

Everyone knows !