Seasonal Gardening: Late Summer

Now that I am bushwhacking through the weeds to find and pick my first tomatoes (which are also out of control), I realize that this is the time when I start planting my fall garden. As I pull weeds (setting some aside to put in the dehydrator, like wild amaranth and lambs quarters, other weeds are used as mulch around vegetables as long as they haven't gone to seed), I plant seeds in the freshly turned soil. Last year's Brassicas, such as kale, broccoli, and collard greens, have gone to seed. I may have mentioned that I'm a lazy gardener, so I just let the brassicas and other plants like red amaranth and calendula self-seed right where they are. As the potatoes come out, seed potatoes go right back in. The rest of this lesson was written by Sarah, because I admit that my life has been filled with my new job as the interim executive director at the Conneaut Arts Center. Between that and the garden, I have time for little else. But planning such things as the Loch Erie Monster Show and an interactive gallery to map the historic Port District in Conneaut has been fun and challenging. So stay tuned for more emails on planting a fall garden, learning more about overwintering plants, and maybe a little on planning for the spring. Oh, and if you're interested in the Loch Erie Monster Show, check it out at conneautartscenter.org/events

Leah Wolfe
Herbalist & Community Educator
trilliumcenter.org * rustbeltroots.org


Seasonal Gardening Intro to Late Summer

These are the dog days of summer and the dog days of gardening season too.  The weather is sultry, bugs and pests abound, and everything seems overgrown.  Day length is slowly decreasing, hardly noticeable yet, but marks a key time to prepare the fall garden.  Seasonal indicators, garden tasks, and seed starting suggestions are listed here with more information at the link below.

Being observant during the peak of insect season will be rewarded with some beautiful and bizarre discoveries such as these Poecilochirus mites that are riding a grapevine beetle to a new food source.  Photo by Sarah Brower.


Seasonal Indicators

  • Day length is less than 15 hours and will drop below 14 hours before the second week of August
  • Daytime humidity very high and hot temperatures (when it’s not raining) 
  • Huge diversity and abundance of insects in yards, gardens, natural areas, indoors
  • Unmowed areas are high, and weedy wildflowers are blooming: chicory, Queen Anne’s lace, buttercups, yarrow, thistles, daisies, milkweeds, St. John’s wort
  • In less disturbed fields or restored prairies many species blooming: black-eyed Susans, purple and green-headed coneflowers, compass plant, coreopsis, bee balm and wild bergamot, blazing star
  • Insectivorous birds very active: swallows, chimney swifts, kingbirds, flycatchers
  • Male deer antlers almost full size
  • Time for ripe blackberries, blueberries, peaches


Chicory and Queen Anne’s lace, a common sight along roadsides this time of year.  Photo by Kenneth Spencer <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/>


Garden Tasks 

  • Harvest!
  • Collect and clean seeds
  • Weed and mulch
  • Fertilizing heavy feeders
  • Continue pruning and training tomatoes
  • Sow fall crops
  • Water during dry spells


Seeds to Direct Sow

  • Bush and pole beans, it’s not too late!
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Bunching onions
  • Fall radish: daikon, watermelon
  • Cool season herbs: dill, cilantro, fennel

Read on for some seasonal gardening tips!
Seasonal Gardening: Late Summer
Seasonal Indicators
Garden Tasks
Seeds to Direct Sow