5 End of Summer Garden Projects

7 projects if you really want to get down & dirty

Summer growing season is coming to an end, however, a gardeners work is never done. For those of us who love to garden that is not such a bad thing! This is what I’ll be doing to get ready for winter & next season.

1. harvest herbs to dry or freeze (flowers too)

Drying Herbs – If you have woodier herbs like thyme, rosemary,sage, oregano or lemon verbena growing in your garden these are great candidates for air drying. Cut stalks off the plant about 1/3 down but above two leaves; so the plant continues to grow. Rinse them in cool water, get rid of any dry, brown or damaged leaves. Once dry, tie the herbs in loose bundles or lay on a cookie sheet out of the sun in a dry place with good air circulation. Once dry you can strip the leaves from the stalks or store the whole thing & crumble the leaves as needed.

end of summer gardening tips philadelphia region

Oregano & Rosemary Hung Upside Down to Dry About Three Weeks Ago

Freezing Herbs – You can try to dry the tender herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, tarragon, chives or parsley in bundles but there is a risk that they will get moldy. Harvest then clean herbs well & strip the leaves from the stalks. Bundle them into ice cube trays, cover with water & pop into the freezer. Don’t forget to label! When the mood strikes pop out a cube or two of basil or mint & let the water melt off it; use as needed.

**Tip** dried herbs have a stronger flavor than fresh herbs so substitute about 1/4 to a 1/3 of dried for fresh in recipes.

Drying Flowers – Flowers can be dried by hanging upside down or putting in a vessel with about an inch of water. Dried flowers are great for fall wreaths & decorations.

end of summer gardening tips philadelphia region

Dried Poppy Pods, Scabiosa, Helianthus & Echinacea (From Left to Right)

2. order spring bulbs

The second I see spring bulbs pop up I wish I had the foresight to put some in myself. For me, this is the year! Bulbs that work really well in our zone, which is zone 6B, are tulips, daffodils, alliums, crocosmia, lilies, hyacinths & grape hyacinths. I garden in containers so I will be planting daffodils, lilies, alliums, crocosmia & tulips.

3. plant garlic

Did you know garlic is super easy to grow? I didn’t! This is another one I am trying this year. You can order online or try to use what you’ve got in your kitchen. Hardneck varieties work best in our zone & they will treat you with the spring delicacy known as garlic scapes.

4. sow cool weather seeds

Lettuce, spinach, kale, swiss chard & peas can all be sown now for a fall harvest. One of my favorite seed companies is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I have had great germination rates with everything that I have ordered from there.

end of summer gardening tips philadelphia region

Cool Weather Spring Crops – Sow Round Two in the Fall

5. tidy up those beds/containers

Deadhead spent blooms & remove any foliage that isn’t looking so great. Add a layer of compost or mulch. Give your plants some food!

for the advanced gardener:

I’ll admit…I’m not here but learning to garden is a work in progress so this will be the first year I try! Hopefully this coming spring I’ll have plenty of new plants to add to my containers….on a shoestring budget at that.

6. divide perennials

Perennials can be divided & new plants made from them. I have a few in my old garden that I am looking to uproot & bring to my new home. Most of them will be large so I will be trying my hand at dividing.

Dividing Perennials Tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens

7. start cuttings & save seeds

I am going to try to take cuttings of a few perennials I have as well as save seeds. My poppies are easy. I dried a few pods & I can shake them right out. I have to figure out how to do this with other plants as well.

end of summer gardening tips philadelphia region

Saving Poppy Seeds for Next Spring

Make More Plants from Cuttings Tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens

Saving Seeds Tutorial from Better Homes & Gardens