Northern & Central Midwest

July, 2001
Regional Report

Replenish Mulch

If you didn't cage or stake your tomatoes, replenish their mulch so that the fruits have a clean surface to rest on. Fresh straw is one of the best types of mulch to use. Be sure to provide even amounts of moisture to the plants to prevent blossom end rot on the fruits.

Harvest Garlic

Harvest garlic when about 40 percent of the leaves have browned. Dig the bulbs gently, don't pull the plants by their necks, and let dry in a breezy, shady spot for 2 weeks. After curing, cut off the stems leaving a 1/2 inch long neck and store in a cool, humid spot.

Harvest Onions

Harvest storage onions when the tops naturally fall over. Don't help the process along by breaking over the tops. This stops plant growth and produces smaller bulbs. Gently dig onions in the morning and allow them to dry until afternoon. Once dry, place them in a protected, shady spot to cure for 2 to 3 weeks.

Start Potpourri

Collect flower petals and herbs for potpourri and vinegars. For best color and fragrance, pick petals after the flower opens. Harvest herbs before they begin to bloom. For potpourri, dry them in a dark place on screens or in paper bags. For fresh use in vinegars, wash and then dry in a airy location out of direct sun.

Keep Composting

Keep the compost going throughout the summer. A compost bucket under the sink makes it easy to collect vegetable trimmings for the pile. After emptying it a few times on the compost pile, add a shovelful of dirt. Turn the pile every 2 weeks to produce quick brown gold for the garden.

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