The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Time to plant a row of purple top turnips: With the last week of August approaching, it’s time to plant a row of purple top turnips for some great autumn and early winter dining. A row planted in late August will assure plenty of time for the garden to produce large turnips. You can cover the seed with a layer of peat moss to give them a good start. The final days of August can be dry so keep the soil moist. When the seeds develop their first two leaves, give them a shot of liquid fertilizer. You can sow turnips in a bed or row. Keeping turnips well-watered will cool the soil.

Harvesting and freezing sweet green peppers: Green peppers should beat harvest stage during late August. They are so very easy to freeze and come in handy for recipes during fall, winter and spring. All you need to do is wash them, cut the top off, remove the seed, and cube into quarter inch squares and place in plastic freezer containers. Keep a box in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and pour the amount you need for a recipe and then seal the container and return to the freezer.

Making A batch of chowchow relish: With the harvest of sweet green and red peppers and plenty of green tomatoes now on hand it’s the ideal time to make up a batch of chowchow relish to use on collared and mustard greens, pinto beans, hamburgers, and hot dogs. The recipe is very simple and so are the ingredients. All you need is 6 to 8 sweet green peppers, 6 to 8 red sweet peppers, 40 green tomatoes, three heads of cabbage and six large onions. Cube, chop or run through the blender in grate mode. Mix all the chopped, cubed or grated vegetables in a large caner and mix together with a half cup of salt. Cover and let it sit overnight. The next day, drain all liquid. Combine 4 cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 1/2 cups light brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of pickling spices and 1 cup of water. Mix all liquids together and bring to a boil. Add liquid to vegetable ingredients and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Pack into sterilized pint jars, seal and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes

Today we celebrate Saint Bartholomew’s Day: On this special day we celebrate the curtain call of summer. It is the day when summer dews begin to get colder and signals the grass and garden to slow down. It is natures plan and God’s will to slowly turn the sun season of summer slowly into autumn as the cold do a late August paves the way for Jack Frost in late October one do at a time.

The Christmas cactus on the summer porch: All the Christmas cactus or thriving and cascading over their containers in the semi sunny area of the front porch. They enjoy a shot of liquid fertilizer once a month and a drink of water every week. They will remain on the porch until mid-October and then be transferred to the sunny living room to spend winter. The secret for their blooms at Christmas is their outdoor time on the summer porch.

Late August rains pave way for the vegetables of autumn: One benefit of late August Rains is they will cool off the soil in the garden and preparation for the cool weather vegetables in the autumn garden plot. The rains of August also signal summer vegetables to speed up their harvest because their days of production are numbered. The days are now getting shorter by a minute per day and this is also sending that message to warm weather vegetables and to us that it is of time to ready the garden plot for the cool weather crops of autumn.

Keeping plenty of nectar and hummingbird feeders: Many flowers of summer are slowing down which makes Hummers have to search harder for a food source. They now could use her help by keeping plenty of nectar in the feeders. Change the nectar every three days, filling the feeders half-full to avoid wasting food.

Midsummer beauty of 4 o’clock blooms: The 4 o’clock’s are now in full bloom during late August. They still have over two months left to bloom. No other of summers flower will bloom as long as the heat tolerant 4 o’clock the bushes.

Time for a row of autumn mustard in mixed greens: With only seven days remaining in the month of August, planting a row or bed of mixed greens is in order. An ounce of seed cost just around two dollars and 2 ounces also a 50 foot row.

The secret of a great turnip harvest: As we approach the end of August, 2017, the seeds of purple top turnips can be planted because next month, soil temperatures will begin to cool down, paving the way for cool weather vegetables. A great way to grow hefty turnips without crowding them and stunting their productivity is by starting the turnip seed in a quart flowerpot container with seed starting medium this weekend. Mix a quart of the medium +2 handfuls, add water to properly moisten the medium. Place the medium in the quart container, reserving the extra medium to cover the Turnip seed. Finely sprinkle the turnip seed in the moistened medium, then cover with a layer of medium and press it down. Each day I use a spray bottle of water to moisten and cool down the newly sewn seed. When afternoon temperatures get hot move the container to a shady area of the porch or carport. Spray daily with a mist of water. After they develop two leaves, pot individual plants in containers and water daily. Move to shady area when temperatures rise. During mid-September, pot the turnip plants to speed up their harvest because their days of production are numbered. The days are now getting shorter by a minute per day and this also is sending its message to warm weather vegetables and to us that it is time to ready to garden plot for the cool weather crops of autumn.

Ray Baird

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