Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garden reboot

A worn-out garden in July doesn't mean you're destined for a garden fail this year. This is the perfect time to yank out and start fresh.

Let me start with my confession: Weeds won out - big time - this summer. They thrived; my plants did not. When I returned from vacation this week, I found tons of weeds, a sad, one-strand tomato plant with two sadder tomatoes on it, wimpy bean plants that had been eaten alive. I could be discouraged; instead I looked to the future.

First, it's just the right time for fall planting. I am ripping out weeds in squares and replanting with beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, radishes and other cool-weather plants.

Second, look for those little surprises. I was shocked to find that while my tomato plants in the garden looked pathetic, there were a half-dozen tomato plants that had self-planted from my compost bin! Two of them were thriving - one of them was as tall as my bin - and I am letting them stay put. The others have been carefully moved and replanted to my garden so my husband can mow.

Third, remember that the warm-weather growing season isn't quite over yet. You may be able to still find some clearanced plants at local farm stands or farmers markets, or plant some short-term seeds (think: lettuces or radishes).

And finally, don't rush to rip out so quickly. My bok choy and lettuces that bolted are now about to seed - meaning less work for me later!

What are your favorite tips for rebooting your garden during the summer?

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