Northern & Central Midwest

August, 2012
Regional Report

Don't Start Pruning Yet

Don't be too eager to start pruning. Pruned plants will still send out new growth at this time of year that may be damaged in winter. Wait until leaves begin to turn their fall colors, indicating that the plant is not in active growth to begin pruning.

Keep Drying Herbs for Winter

Keep harvesting and drying herbs for winter use. Dry the usual culinary herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, oregano and chives, but also try some others for teas. Catnip, spearmint, lemon balm and lavender make wonderful teas for cold winter afternoons. You can also dry lemon and lime peel to add an extra kick to your cup of tea.

Stop Deadheading Roses

Stop deadheading roses at the end of the month and allow the hips to ripen. Rose hips are beautiful accents in the garden as they redden and begin to look like jewels. Also, you can pick and dry the hips and then grind them for a delicious tea that is packed with vitamin C.

Save Large Zucchini

Don't throw away the baseball bat-sized zucchini that you didn't see under the leaves. Simply peel it, scrape out the seeds and puree the pulp for the freezer. Use the pulp in sauces, stews, soups, and as the liquid in breads and desserts. It has a slightly sweet flavor.

Pick Tomatoes after Rain

Be prepared to pick tomatoes immediately after a rain, especially cherry tomatoes. The rain tends to saturate the soil quickly, and the tomatoes will crack almost immediately. They are still edible if you pick them as soon as you notice a crack. Leave them longer, and bacteria will enter, causing decay.

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