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Now’s the time to plan your fall garden

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By Cheryl Steenerson

 I can’t believe it’s August. I have so many summer things left to do and for some reason when August hits, it’s like an artificial countdown alarm sounds off in my head.

Events like 127 Days, state fair and first day of school make me want to rush to get things done before Labor Day. In reality, we have a lot more summer left. Thank goodness.

Pressure cookers, dehydrators and seal a meals are all doing overtime as we rush to preserve our harvests and stock the pantry for winter. Even if you don’t grow a garden, you can buy bulk locally and preserve your own food for the winter. It may not save you money but it sure might save your health.

With so many people having health issues these days, more and more are starting to read labels on their food. It can get pretty scary if you research some ingredients. If you preserve your own, the only thing you add is a little salt, if that. I’m hoping this new wave of healthy eating will encourage more people to drop the fast food and pick up preserving.

Time seems to be the deciding factor when it comes to eating, but if we plan well, that doesn’t have to be the case. I typically cook for the week on Sundays. Then I pack and preserve, so all I have to do is heat and eat at lunch and after I come home from work. Just pick a time to cook big and you’ll find yourself eating out way less often.

If you just never got around to planting that summer garden then cheer up, it’s fall garden planting time. Look around to find some plants of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and beets. In late August it will start to cool down enough so you can also plant some lettuce, spinach, turnips and greens.

You should also be lining out your fall landscaping plans about now. The trick is to get them in the ground to give them enough time to get their roots well established but not be stressed out by the heat of the summer. As a rule of thumb, September marks the start for adding landscape plants like bushes, trees and spring blooming perennials. Do your research now.

When planning your landscape remember to work smarter, not harder. Remember that all things grow and you need to be sure you have the room for them to reach a mature growth. You want happy plants that get the right amount of sunshine, water and air.

Think ahead. If you put that shrub in that corner, will your hose reach it? Will it be a pain to mow around? Will it block a view? Will it drop stuff where you don’t want it? Will it get the right amount of sunshine? Think about blooming seasons and heights and mix it up.

Now, get outside and get some physical labor. 

Fresh apples are coming in season, so add one to your daily diet. Get to bed at a decent hour and drink lots of water.

Just four simple things we all should do to stay healthy and active, unless you like feeling miserable and going to the doctor. (Just sayin. Happy growing.

 

Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.