Don't Get Discouraged
Heat, drought, rabbits, deer, deadheading, weeds, bugs, too many vegetables, not enough vegetables. By this point of the year, the garden may seem overwhelming for any number of reasons. Try to not let it get you down. Appreciate the bounty, enjoy the hummingbirds, and put blinders on, at least part of the time, to the problems. Try to think of ways to make it easier next year, as well as making note of what brings the most satisfaction. Take time to sit on the porch or deck in the cool of the evening and smell the nicotiana, watch the fireflies, and listen to the frogs.
Jams, Jellies, and Other Treats
Whether from your own garden or purchased at a local farm or farmer's market, preserve some vegetables or fruits for enjoyment this winter as well as possible gifts. Pickled cucumbers, green beans, or okra make a great appetizer, while fruit jams, jellies, and preserves can brighten a snowy day's breakfast. Or, try more unusual treats, like peach chutney or brandied cherries. Have fun experimenting. Get friends or family together for the project and make it into a "preserving party."
Plant Fall Vegetables
With the first break in the hot summer temperatures, preferably just before a rainy spell, sow seeds of lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, Asian greens, radishes, turnips, and other fall crops and set out transplants of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. If there isn't much break in the weather, place shade-cloth tents over the plantings. Keep them well-watered until the seeds germinate and the transplants become established.
Fragrant Plants Close By
Scent plays a subtle yet vital role in our lives on many different levels. Growing plants with fragrant flowers or foliage are one of the ways to add pleasure -- and delightful memories -- to the garden. If you haven't fully explored the possibilities of maximizing fragrance in the garden, plan on it for next year. Especially think about how to add it to areas that are used often, such as near a porch, deck, or patio. By combining fragrant trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, herbs, and bulbs you can have fragrance throughout the growing season.
Fall Bulb Planning
The selection of spring-flowering bulbs expands each year. Consider choosing a wide variety of bulbs so that you'll have flowers from late winter through spring or go with a certain color scheme. Experiment with bulbs that you've never tried before or add to some old favorites. If you have the energy and time, try planting a mass of daffodil or crocus bulbs for a stunning display.