Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Northwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Debbie Leung

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AUGUST

The maritime Pacific Northwest climate is perfect for growing berries. Many varieties are now available, making harvests of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries possible this month. It gives this berry lover the opportunity to perfect her fresh berry pie recipe.

Veggie Harvest. Vegetables ripen and flowers bloom like gangbusters this month. Harvest all ripe produce a couple times every week to keep it coming.

Preserve Your Yield. Freeze, dry, pickle, or can some of the harvests for winter. Freeze fruit for jam-making in winter when a hot kitchen is welcome. Take extra harvests to neighbors, the office, food banks, homeless shelters, or senior programs.

Treat Yourself to Summer Corn. Corn is ready to eat when the kernels can be felt through the husks. Raccoons steal a large portion of my crop.

Plant Preparation. Fall and winter harvests require summer planting so that plants are large enough to withstand the ravages of inclement weather. Plant transplants of Brussels sprouts and hardy cabbages. Sow spinach, kale, mustard, cilantro, and turnip seed all month. Leek transplants will mature in early spring.

Ravishing Raspberries. Prune summer raspberries and other cane berries by removing all canes that have finished bearing fruit. I trim this year's new canes to about 6 feet tall, the maximum height I want to reach when harvesting them next year.

Perennial Party. Bright and bold summer blooming perennials and annuals take front stage. Extend the show by removing all spent blooms. Enjoy the cast indoors by cutting long stems when buds are just opening. Put them immediately in vases filled to the brim with water.

Seed Droppers. A little mess now can mean more beauty later. Let some self-seeding flowers such as pansies, cynoglossom, agrostemma, poppies, and nigella form seed heads.

Sassy Sunflowers. Mature sunflowers allowed to develop seed become natural bird feeders. Watch the spiraling symmetry of the flower's disk unfold as the seeds develop, then enjoy the antics of the feeding birds.

Lawn Care. Brown lawns cared for organically on healthy soil are not necessarily dead (or ugly!). Grass varieties that go dormant in summer will turn green again after the first significant rain.

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