* Perennials: globe thistle, purple coneflower
(echinacea), hollyhock, Russian
sage, lambs ears, purple bee balm
* Annuals: sunflowers, lobelia, nasturtium, ageratum, cosmos, zinnia
* Bulbs: dahlia, Oriental lily
* Harvesting tomatoes, okra and, later in the month, green beans and some peppers
* Transplanting fall greens sets
* Blueberry picking at PYOs
* Drying herbs continues
* Bug Watch continues
* Taking Stock
* First time Night-Blooming Cereus blooms in 3 decades!
In the Kitchen and Garden
August in Zone 4-5 is a time to sit back and watch the garden grow.
It's a transition time between planting season and canning season, when you can think about how to do it better next year. And, it's a time to gorge yourself on tomatoes!
(click to enlarge)
Cherry tomatoes are harvested early in the month, other tomatoes later, due to wet rainy summer season.
Herbs are dried in baskets on the dining room table. If humidity is low, it takes less than a week for smaller-leaved herbs. Basil and lemon balm have larger, thicker leaves and may need dehydrating. This month and next are our peak drying periods.
July-seeded lettuce is transplanted into spots opening up in the garden.
Expect to see this fellow on the tomatoes and peppers later this month. (click to enlarge) It is the tomato hornworm. As the photo indicates, if you wait till he gets this big, it may be too late for your tomato or pepper plant!
In the Ornamental Beds
Globe thistle, purple coneflower (echinacea),
hollyhock, Russian sage, lambs ears, purple bee balm
From left to right below are 'Soraya', 'Valentine', 'Autumn Beauty', and 'Van Gogh' sunflowers. Nasturtiums love to lean against sunflowers (click to enlarge).
The best time to cut flowers (and herbs) is in the morning before the dew dries. They should be 'cured' in water in a dark place for about 8 hours before arranging.
I wish I could say we grew the arrangement, but they were picked at a local PYO bouquet farm, Springledge in New London, NH. They are 'Astolat' delphinium (pink) and yellow snapdragons, a beautiful combination.
One of this gardener's favorite lilies is the very fragrant 'Casa Blanca' Oriental lily. (click to enlarge) This bulb is worth the labor of surrounding it with hardware cloth during planting. In a meadow are like ours, pine voles, ("meadow mice") will make short order of bulbs.
In 2003, a wet summer provided us with a bonus: the first time our night-blooming cereus ever bloomed prolifically! (click to enlarge)
In the Meadow
Gaillardias and rudbekias still going strong.
Japanese beetles are not as prevalent on our rugosa roses in the meadow. (Maybe they are distracted by the green beans and dahlias in the garden!) Rose hips on rugosa roses decline in 2004, due to extensive damage by heavy snows.
Our source for PYO blueberries in Warner is Blue Moon Farm. Cared for with loving hands by a German-Swiss couple who have since retired and sold the farm, it is still the best place to go to pick blueberries. Views that can't be beat, quiet solitude, now a petting farm, and only a couple miles from our homestead! For freezing purposes, figure 11 pounds will produce about 14 pints frozen. (click to enlarge)
Weather and Pest Log
* Rain continues with higher temps.
* Mystery insects reported last month at soil level declines. Japanese beetle population subsequently soars. Is there a connection?
* First tomato hornworm found on pepper plant - sprayed Bt
* NH Master Gardener identifies our mystery bug from the image sent to him: Asian Garden Beetle.
* Rain past two weeks.
* No tomato hornworms sighted, or visible signs of hornworm damage, although neighbor reports serious infestation.
* Farmer's Market vendors report this has been a bad year for peppers due to excess precipitation and cool temperatures.
Hot and humid with little rainfall. Even Japanese beetles are keeping a low profile. Tomato hornworms finally make an appearance, for the first time in our pepper pots. So much for the theory that container gardening is safe from this pest!