Archives > August 2016

It Doesn’t Have to be Over! Late Blooming Perennials

Posted by Wallish on Aug 23 2016

late blooming perennials 2 of 2As summer winds down with annuals and perennials slowing their blooming, be encouraged that it doesn’t have to all end right now.  Fall blooming perennials extend the joy of garden deep in fall while the rest of the garden is winding down and as leaves are crunching under your feet.

Fall blooming perennials withstand frost and their bloom is unaffected.  Consider adding some of these to your garden palette!

Tall Fall Blooming Sedums:

  • These are typically 18-24” tall, love a full hot sun exposure, and bloom during the  late summer in colors ranging from yellow to very dark pink.
  • Foliage colors range from pale green to dark purples.
  • These are very good performers and vigorous growers.
  • Bees love them as they tank up for their last feasts of fall.
  • There are many varieties of fall blooming sedums, some favorite cultivars are:  ‘Autumn Joy’, ‘Autumn Delight’, ‘Neon’, ‘Matrona’

Solidago  (Golden Rod)

  • Varieties range in height from 12-24”
  • Feathery golden yellow plumes light up garden spaces
  • Bees love Solidago flowers

Asters

  • Great fall color in hues of pinks, reds, and purples
  •  Varieties range in height 18-30”

Other perennials whose bloom extend into fall:

  • Alcea (Hollyhocks)
  • Chrysanthemum aka Leucanthemum
  • Echinacea (Coneflower)
  • Gaillardia (Blanket Flower)
  • Helenium (Sneezeweed)
  • Hemerocallis (Daylilies)
  • Nepeta (Catmint)
  • Pervoskia (Russian Sage)
  • Rudbeckia
  • Heliopsis (False Sunflower)
Sources:  Perennials for Every Purpose by Larry Hodgson, Green Leaf Plants, http://www.canadiangardening.com/plants/perennials/late-summer-blooms-from-a-to-z/a/1467/3

Bitter, Bolting Lettuce

Posted by Wallish on Aug 2 2016

Few things are more disappointing that biting into the salad you have proudly prepared from your garden patch of fresh lettuce to find it — a bitter bite to swallow!

Why does lettuce get bitter?

1.      Summer heat –  lettuce is a cool weather crop – its favorite temperatures are below 20C

  • Mulch to keep roots cool
  • Pick in the morning
  • Immerse in cool water to soak for a bit, that can help with the bitter taste
  • Pick new leaves, not a whole head
  • Companion plant where it can get some shade from other veggies to get a break from the sun  and heat

2.      Plant successive crops every 2  or 3 weeks so the plants you are harvesting are young

3.      Too dry: browning edges of leaves

  • Water regularly in the mornings, evening watering can cause molding
  • Lettuce is a heavy feeder d/t quick growth – try organic liquid fertilizer

4.      Experiment with different varieties

  • leaf varieties & red lettuce tend to tolerate warmth more
  • Romaine tolerates high temperatures moderately

Why does lettuce bolt?

Summer heat causes lettuce to bolt – temperatures above 23C trigger lettuce to bolt & flower to produce seeds for the next generation of lettuce babies.

Sources:
1.      http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/lettuce/bitter-lettuce.htm
2.      http://tendingmygarden.com/lettuce-bitter-secrets-to-keeping-it-tasty/
3.      http://homeguides.sfgate.com/causes-bitter-lettuce-sap-76697.html