Mid to late summer is the perfect time to start thinking about your fall harvest! We’ve come up with some tips for a delicious fall veggie season.
How do I prepare?
Remove any plants that won’t do well in the cooler weather or that are past their harvesting prime. Warm season crops, like tomatoes and peppers, should all be starting to slow down.
Weed your garden. Weeds will steal nutrients and moisture from your new growing plants. Clear them out so your new crops can thrive.
With a clear garden, now would be a good time to lay down some compost for extra nutrients.
When’s the right time?
Fall brings the year’s first frost. You’ll want to be sure to give your cool season veggies time to grow before it hits. Consult The Old Farmer’s Almanac frost calendar by region for the specific timing of your area’s frost.
The key is to find your region’s first frost date and then count backwards to see how many days are left in their growing season. If you are sowing seeds, you also need to count in how many days before those seeds germinate. If you are planting seedlings from a garden center, then don’t need to count germination time.
For example, if you’re planting radishes from seed. You need 30-40 days for them to mature, plus five to seven days to germinate the seed if you are using seeds. So, you need to plant them at least 35-45 days before the first frost date.
Some crops, like cabbage and collards, will tolerate light frosts, so you can build in a little more time for them beyond the first frost date.
What do I plant?
Fall veggies can grow really fast, for example, radishes can mature in as few as 30 days. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a planting calendar which helps determine when and where to grow your favorite fall vegetables.
Different plants will thrive in different zones, so be sure to research which vegetables would go best with your region’s climate. Here’s is a list of what is typically enjoyed in the autumn months:
International Monarch Monitoring Blitz Citizen Project!
The distinctive monarch butterfly, known for its orange wingsinterlaced with black lines and white dots border, is famous for their seasonal migration from the United States and Canada to warmer climates in California and Mexico. Their migration across the continent provides an invaluable pollination service which is essential for many ecosystems to thrive.Recently making the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN)Red Listof Threatened SpeciesTMas Endangered, monarchs are threatened with widespread habitat loss.
You can help protect and conserve the monarch butterfly by joining this year’s International Monarch Monitoring Blitz now through 6 August 2023! Data collected by volunteers each year supports trinational efforts to better understand the monarch butterfly’s breeding productivity, range and timing in North America.
To take part in the Blitz, share your observations through one of the community science programs below:
Engage in community conservation actions such as native habitat restoration, education and outreach and local policy changes to benefit monarch butterflies.
Enroll in monarch conservation, community-based science opportunities in local communities.
Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides.
Create and Certify Your Wildlife Habitat: Create an outdoor space using native plants that attract monarchs and other pollinators. Once you’ve incorporated all the elements of a wildlife-friendly habitat—food, water, cover, and places to raise young—be recognized by certifying your space through Garden for Wildlife’s signature Certified Wildlife Habitat program.
Check the Native Plant finder to see what varieties grow for your zone. There are several dozen species of milkweed plants native to North America, and it is important to be sure to know your zone to choose the right one for your region.
When summer rolls around, everyone deserves a vacation, including your houseplants! After a winter indoors, many houseplants will benefit from some time outdoors when the weather is right. The right light exposure, increased humidity, and fresh air can stimulate new growth and sometimes enhance blooming.
Tips for moving indoor plants outside:
Make sure the weather is right. Indoor plants shouldn’t go outdoors until night-time temperatures are consistently above 55°F.
Avoid scorching foliage by starting houseplants in shady sites and gradually exposing them to more sunshine. Some tropicals will do best if kept in a shady location throughout the summer, while succulents will appreciate full sun after a gradual transition.
Adjust watering needs based on ambient rainfall. Your indoor plants may need more water given the warmer environment, so monitor water levels and supplement as needed. Make sure you remove saucers from underneath plants so excess water will drain away.
After a summer of active growth, some plants may need repotting before you move them back indoors.
Tips for moving indoor plants back inside:
Bathe, inspect, and evaluate. Give your plants a good dousing with a hose to remove webs, dust, debris and pests. Thoroughly check foliage front and back for signs of pests. When treating plants for pests, begin by using a mixture of manual removal, horticultural soap, and horticultural oil. However, if the infestation is severe, it might be a good idea to compost them rather than risk infecting other plants.
Create a schedule. Most houseplants need two things in the winter: regular water and regular pest inspections.
Barbara Pleasant, author of The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, shared some further tips to help your plants enjoy their summer vacation.
For most medium and small houseplants, a summer outdoors in a shady spot gives them growing space and warmth, which most houseplants love. At my house, the sweet spot for summering houseplants is the bright shade beneath a second story deck.
I always move winter-blooming houseplants like holiday cactus, kalanchoe, and succulents outdoors for the summer. Exposure to long summer days followed by chilly fall nights encourages strong blooming.
I observe September as houseplant month. Conditions are great for repotting plants outside where you can make a mess, and plants that are divided have time to recover under warm conditions. As plants are moved back indoors, each one gets a trim, a shower, and repotting if needed.
Not all houseplants like an outdoor vacation, and very large ones can have problems adjusting back to indoor light after spending time outdoors. Tall houseplants are prone to toppling over in thunderstorms, so they require a very sheltered spot. African violets, orchids and a few other houseplants simply prefer staying in.
Summer is an excellent time to explore the culinary adventures your herb garden has to offer. Jim Long, of Long Creek Herbs, shared some of his tips for growing and cooking with herbs.
Tips for Using Herbs:
The easiest way to learn unfamiliar herb flavors is to chop up some fresh herbs into either cream cheese or scrambled eggs. Both are relatively neutral flavors, which will allow you to fully experience the taste of an herb.
Go beyond the basics – instead of sprinkling a few pieces of parsley on a dish, chop up some basil and thyme as well.
When growing herbs, the nearer the kitchen the better. If you have herbs growing in containers just steps from the kitchen, you are more likely to use them.
Don’t be intimidated about using herbs in your cooking. It’s almost impossible to make a mistake when using cooking herbs. You may like some more than others, but that’s part of the learning process.
Go bold. I once introduced a kids’ class to chocolate chip cookies with rosemary, to acquaint them with the taste of rosemary. It was a hit! Or use basil leaves in place of lettuce on a sandwich.
When using fresh or dried herbs in cooking, add most of them about half or two-thirds of the way through the cooking process. Add a bit more at the very end. Cooking vaporizes the oils that carry the flavors of herbs, so they can either lose their flavor or become bitter during the cooking process.
As we begin July and feel its infamous warmth, we need to remember to keep ourselves and our gardens hydrated. Good watering practices will help your garden stay cool while the sun brings the heat. Here are some of our tips to help your plants—and the planet— stay healthy.
Check your soil for moisture near the roots of your plants. You can do this by feeling it with your fingers or using a soil moisture meter. If it feels dry one to two inches down, grab your hose!
Water early in the morning. Midday heat causes water to evaporate faster, so take advantage of cooler early morning hours.
Water directly to the soil at the root zone. Roots absorb water quickly from the soil; water on foliage evaporates fast and could lead to fungal diseases like powdery mildew.
Water slowly and deeply. Quick splashes of water won’t allow the water to get deep enough to the roots. If water is puddling, the surface soil may be too dry; soften the surface with water and let it sit for a few minutes before watering thoroughly. For containers, water until you see water coming out of drainage holes at the bottom.
If your region gets above 85°F, expect to water vegetables and other new plantings daily if no soaking rain falls. If your plants are wilting in the middle of the day, check the soil before watering; some plants wilt to conserve moisture and recover in the evening.
Plants in containers need more frequent watering than plants in the ground. Make sure to water your containers daily, especially those in full sun or exposed to wind.
To conserve moisture (and as a bonus reduce weed growth), apply a layer of bark mulch or leaf mold on the soil surface around plants and in containers.
Keep track of rain with a rain gauge to make sure you and Mother Nature are working together.
The most common reason for foliage turning yellow or showing browning on its edges is overwatering. Make sure you allow enough time between watering your plants.
Supporting a natural ecosystem is something that home gardeners can do to combat loss of plant and animal species, from planting for pollinators, to getting to know your insect friends and foes, to creating bird-friendly winter gardens.
Last year, we compiled a variety of how-to articles about attracting pollinators, distinguishing beneficial insects from garden pests, and creating wildlife habitats for you from past issues of our bimonthly member magazine, The American Gardener. Check out our pollinator resources and find out how you can support the environment within your own garden!
Celebrate National Pollinator Week by making your garden welcome to a diversity of pollinators— and help create a healthier, more bountiful community for all. For additional ideas and a list of Pollinator Week activities near you, visit www.pollinator.org.
News & Press
Look No Further than the Winners of AHS Book Awards
Celebrate great gardening literature by reading the winners of the 2023 AHS Book Awards! Each year, we honor garden-related books published in North America who excel in writing style, authority, accuracy, appearance, and overall quality. The award is presented jointly to both the author and publisher.
Meet the 2023 winners!
100 Plants to Feed the Birds by Laura Erickson (Storey Publishing)
American Wildflowers: A Literary Field Guide edited by Susan Barba (Abrams)
A Gardener’s Guide to Botany by Scott Zona (Cool Spring Press)
Wondering what to get mom for Mother’s Day this year? Look no further than an AHS membership! Mom will love exploring over 350 beautiful gardens across the country through our Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP), reading our exclusive, award-winning The American Gardener magazine, attending top-quality AHS webinars and events, accessing vetted educational materials and resources, and taking advantage of discounts on home and garden shows, seeds and gardening literature.
The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce the return of its national speaker series featuring current and past winners of the Great American Gardeners Awards and Book Awards. Since 1953, the AHS has been using these award programs to recognize and celebrate horticultural champions that represent the best in American gardening. This dedicated webinar series will provide an additional spotlight on these outstanding individuals.
In a lively and engaging conversational format, speakers will share their knowledge and experience with our event host, Holly Shimizu, gardener to gardener. Holly is a nationally recognized horticulturist with a rich background in public gardens and garden communication. At the end of the discussion, guests will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Wednesday, May 10 at 7pm ET Dr. Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware Winner of the B.Y. Morrison Communication Award (2018)
Wednesday, June 14 at 7pm ET Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange Winner of the Paul Ecke Jr. Commercial Award (2019)
Wednesday, August 23 at 7pm ET Dr. Lucinda McDade, California Botanic Garden and Claremont Graduate University Winner of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award (2021)
New Directions in The American Landscape Virtual Education Series
AHS is once again proudly sponsoring the New Directions in The American Landscape (NDAL) Virtual Education Series this spring, March through April. Registration will be open and recordings will be viewable for three months after each live session date. CEU’s available (APLD, LA CES, NOFA). Registration is now available.